Nothing substantial has appeared on this blog since a month ago. I feel kinda detached somewhat from the scene and from blogging that I worried a bit for this particularly entry. Simply because, it’s been awhile and I feel oh-so-rusty. Coupled with the fact that I’m on holiday mood, you can say that I feel a bit lazy to type out my thoughts as well, but then again this entry does not need much elaboration as I feel that for the ladies out there reading this, the photographs are more important and worth the view, not to mention lulling you to a dreamy gaze and sigh. Before I move on, let me once again thank sis Diah Mastura from Studiofrost Online (they sell chic and trendy outfits for ladies, in case you don’t already know by now), for giving me this opportunity to attend this event held at Lagun Sari Restaurant on 27 December 2011.
Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the contest that sis Diah did via Twitter, I would not have gotten wind of this private meet-and-greet fans session with the “King of Malay Ballads” himself. It was only much later that details of his scheduled public appearances were highlighted in Berita Harian and contests were being held on RIA 89.7FM to promote his recently-released album, the fourth in his solo career dating back to 1998. As I had given away my Pesta Raya 2011 tickets, where Anuar teamed up with his sister Ziana in a sold-out concert at Esplanade Theatre, I thought it was an opportunity to see him up close and personal once again, since I had also missed out on the high-tea session at Hyatt Hotel‘s Grand Ballroom back in 2009. Some fan I am, even this latest album, I have not even bought it. That shows how detached I am from the scene, especially the one across the Causeway. Maybe as I age, I am slowly letting go of some things that used to interest me in the past.
What was scheduled to start at 8pm ended up beginning close to 9pm, no thanks to the man’s busy schedule on these shores. When the missus and myself reached the event venue at about 7:45pm, we were surprised to see a long queue had already formed on the staircase leading up to the Java Room of Lagun Sari Restaurant. We were made to wait for more than half an hour and it was not quite a pleasant experience, with very little ventilation. I pitied some of the ladies who were dressed to the nines, some using whatever paraphernalia on their hands to fan themselves. I personally thought it would have been nice if someone had gone down to inform us why there was a delay in waiting. At least, it would more or less appease us. Waiting for a long time and having to perspire due to the limited ventilation is not a good combination. Thankfully nobody kicked up a fuss about it.
The session was hosted by RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and one of the radio station’s new kids-on-the-block, Dzar Ismail. Some of you might remember him from the Anugerah Skrin competition held last year. Known in our local Dikir Barat scene as a member of Durbar Dua and currently teaching full-time, Dzar has joined RIA 89.7FM as one of their part-time recruits. Personally I’m very happy that he has made this step up. I remember very well that during last year’s competition, I had said back then, with his fluency speaking in our mother tongue and his confidence during conversing, he would do well to expand his horizons and repertoire and seek a career in radio. Look where he is now. A humble, charming and friendly chap, he has also done his fair share of acting stint on television. He was also part of the Mediacorp Suria team that won this year’s Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament playing at rightback.
RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and Dzar Ismail hosted the session…
The hosts did well to kill time by playing a game and letting the attendees of the session fill their stomachs, while awaiting for Anuar Zain‘s arrival. The game that was played, required one of the fans to come forward and sing a song by Anuar. I thought of joining in as well, since my wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days, and it would have been nice to sing to the wife the song I sang during our wedding dinner, “Keabadian Cinta“, albeit just the chorus. But then again, the session was about the fans and for the fans. Me seated at the table along with the invited media brigade, meant going forward did not seem right and would have appeared as though the hosts and I were in cahoots, so it was best that someone else more deserving came forward and the guy who came forward did not disappoint, as he sang “Sedetik Lebih” to his partner.
The man himself soon appeared. All the waiting, the beads of perspiration trickling down our backs and the grumbling stomachs prior to sitting down at the event venue were soon forgotten by the majority of those who attended. Singing a total of six songs in an otherwise pre-planned three initially, the man himself was in his class and element, moving from table to table to croon and leave the ladies in a state of daze and stupor. It was amusing to see the dreamy looks and puppy eyes of the ladies when Anuar was at their tables, charming them with his soulful voice, looking into everyone’s eyes and holding the hands of a few lucky ones. Photographs and video recordings from their smart phones and iPads were taken. I am sure the exclusive event lived up to their expectations, as the 80-odd fans literally had Anuar to themselves.
A fan sharing a voicenote with Anuar when he went to her table…
The event went smoothly and there was no wild jostling to get his signature or photograph until sometime towards the end. My only grumble about the fans was that even though Anuar had visited every table and taken photographs with quite a number of them, towards the end when he called for those who had not taken a photograph with him to come forward, many of those who already did, joined in as well. I think a sense of consideration needed to be exercised. Yes I know what it means to be a die-hard fan of a particular artiste, I have been there and done that before, but it would be nice if they had allowed others to have that opportunity as well. It’s not that literally they can cut him up and bring a piece of him home. How many photographs do they need to take as mementos anyway??? From initially queueing up to take a photograph with him, I ended up going back to my seat and just observing the proceedings, consoling myself with the fact that I’ve taken a photograph with him before in the past.
This event, along with two other public appearances (at Singapore Expo and City Square Mall) that Anuar Zain did on 26 December 2011, was something rare and never done before by him. All the three events he appeared in were not paid events. Regular goers to his previous showcases and concerts would know that seeing him in action live meant we had to pay, and this unprecedented change was quite a welcome one for a change. Some quarters might feel that it could drop his commercial and exclusive values somewhat, but he was afterall on a promotional tour of his album. A slight change in approach did not hurt a bit and as the newspaper article revealed in Berita Harian yesterday, he actually helped to rake in $11,000 in proceeds in aid for charity at the event held at Singapore Expo. A showcase next month is currently in the works, hopefully details will be announced soon. The event the other night felt more like a teaser of what’s to come very soon…