Konsert R(A) – Updated Poster Details Promo…

I had uploaded a promo poster of the abovementioned event a few weeks ago, but the line-up has since changed. Avara, has been replaced by Matta Band, the group who made the song “Ketahuan” famous back in 2007. And as an added bonus, three local acts will be featured in this concert. You might have heard of the Anugerah Band 2008 champions, Rancour. But you might not have heard much of Sarah Liyana and Zul Hilmi unless you’re avid listeners of the “Go Glam” segment on RIA 897FM, hosted by Hafeez Glamour or if you’re the kind who scours Youtube for unpolished diamonds.  I think for the price of $68, you’re getting value for money with five good acts, and I’m sure the young upstarts from Singapore will not disappoint. If you’re free this Sunday and have nothing else to do, why not head down to Grassroots Club Auditorium and enjoy the concert, which is organised by fans of music, rather than the usual event promoters, a first of its kind in Singapore

Video courtesy of Sarah Liyana Musa

Rita Zahara’s “Malay Heritage Cooking” Book Launch…

Have you ever been left feeling at a loss over what to cook for the family daily or simply have no idea how to whip up a simple Malay dish if you’re alone or abroad??? I’m sure many of you out there must have gone through those moments of dilemma from time to time. I used to hear that from my mother before I got married, and now the whole cycle repeats itself with the queen at home asking the same set of questions almost every weekends. For a family that eats just a simple dish daily, perhaps they might not face this problem, but when you have different family members with different taste-buds and preferences (or dislikes) for certain dishes, more often than not, the person doing the cooking will be cracking their heads over what to cook, just so they could please everyone at home. Fret not, because the recently-launched “Malay Heritage Cooking” book, written by Rita Zahara, is the answer to your cooking needs.

The book, which is published by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) in hardback, is the third publication from the “Singapore Heritage Cookbooks” series, which showcases delicacies from the different communities in Singapore, the Indian, Peranakan, Malay, Eurasian and Chinese communities. The cookbook contains sixty different known and traditional recipes, synonymous with our Malay community. The heritage cookbook series aims to document and preserve the cultural and culinary heritage of the different ethnic communities, passed on with passion from generation to generation and this particular book was inspired no less by the recipes taught to the author by her late mother and grandmother. Additionally, readers get the value-added feature of learning the history of Rita‘s family and their contributions to society, particularly her late grandmother, Che’ Zahara, whom she was named after, who was a well-respected philanthropist and a moving force behind the proliferation of the Women’s Charter in Singapore. Not surprising that this book is well-backed and supported by our very own National Heritage Board.

Introducing Rita Zahara – The author of the “Malay Heritage Cooking” book…

For those still wondering who the author is or have some vague memories of her, well you might have seen her covering news events on location or reading the news on News 5 Tonight on Channel 5, ChannelNewsAsia or Berita @ Suria on Mediacorp Suria some years ago. For a period of time, she was also one of the anchors for ESPN‘s Sportscenter programme on ESPN Star Sports channel. What many of us do not know, me included, is that Rita Zahara has been a guest judge / panelist in several food festivals in Singapore and Malaysia. Reading the “About The Author” section of her cookbook, I also learned that she is also heavily involved in humanitarian work for Muslim communities in Asia, empowering women and children with access to education. Certainly an influential person in our community, an asset that we should be proud of.

This book launch might have been more than a fortnight old, but memories of how grand and regal it was are still fresh in my head. As I had told the author of the aforementioned book herself when she was signing the cookbook for my missus and mother, this was one of the, if not THE grandest book launch I’ve ever attended. For those who know Rita well enough, they would acknowledge that any production that she comes up with, she will pull out all the stops to ensure guests have something memorable they could go home with, and this book launch was certainly one of them. From the decorations outside the Vanda Ballroom of Marina Mandarin Hotel where the event was held, to the ones inside, the tight four-piece percussion band playing traditional / classic hits, the opening dance item by Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts Ltd., right down to the glorious spread of food, it was a launch fit for a king and was attended by about 250 people, some of whom are distinguished personalities in our community lending their support.

The hosts: Adi Rahman and Steve Dawson

The amazing part about this book launch was that it was conceived and planned within three weeks by Rita and her sisters, Rita Zarina and Rita Zuhaida, that too taking into accounts the Christmas and New Year holidays. They were certainly blessed with the kind help from no less than twenty-eight sponsors and friends, who came forward to help one way or another to ensure that the launch was a resounding success. The goodie bags that we received upon buying the cookbooks contained, a Satay set and a $30 voucher by Tupperware, a brand name which is no stranger to us. Besides the items sponsored by Tupperware, there were also a book on microwave cooking and a publication by Marina Mandarin Hotel. With that kind of goodwill support from the various sponsors, it was no wonder that during her speech, Rita made the effort to thank each and everyone who had helped from the time the book was conceived, to the day of its official launch.

A feature of the book launch was the live recording of the semi-final rounds of Queen Juara Memasak, the reality cooking show currently shown on Mediacorp Suria and produced by Mediamorphosis. The segment of the semi-final round, was recorded in front of the audience and it required the four semi-finalists to weave the ketupat, something which most of us from the younger generation have no idea on how to go about doing it, me included. Out of respect for the show, I did not take photographs nor recorded the segment, and for those who had missed out on watching it when it was aired last Tuesday, you can do so by going to the XinMSN/catchup website. The best part about this segment was when Rita herself joined in weaving the ketupat and she did it all in two minutes!!! She started weaving slightly later than the contestants and finished doing it much earlier than them, a sign that the years of helping out in the kitchen with her late mother, did not go to waste at all. It is quite a skill to learn and execute, and my word, that was impressive!!!

Rita answering questions during the Q&A session…

Lest I forget, the winner of the Queen Juara Memasak programme will be featured in Rita‘s upcoming cookbook, which will feature contemporary Malay dishes by successful / influential Malay personalities in their respective fields, across Asia. The “Malay Heritage Cooking” book is now retailing at $38 (before GST) from good stores such as Kinokuniya, Times and Popular. You can also get it online via NoQ. Amazon will start to sell it from February 2012 onwards. An added feature that will be introduced in the not-so-distant future will be the cookbook being made available on e-book format. A simple click on a particular recipe and one would be able to view how the cooking is done or how a dish is prepared. That is how technology has evolved and we’re able to enjoy the interactive features introduced to us.

The missus tried out one of the recipes, “Mee Telur Daging“, and I have to say, it was heavenly. No, I’m not saying this because I have to say nice things about her cooking or give face to the author, but because the cookbook, was really helpful in introducing us to a new dish we are able to try out and enjoy. I’m sure the other dishes that my wife will whip up in future from the cookbook will be delectable as well. Even though I have only tried out just one recipe so far, I strongly recommend you to get this as this is very useful for cooking beginners, for those abroad missing simple Malay dishes and even for those who are new to our dishes. Not only does the book have recipes, but the author took great pains to talk about each and every single one of them, relating how the dishes are linked to the community, its history or even memories whilst helping her late mother in the kitchen.  Like what the guest-of-honour of the book launch, Dr. Fatimah Lateef, had mentioned in a television interview, this book is indeed a treasure…

Snapshots of the Book Launch

Symbols of our culture and heritage greeted us at the front door…

Guests lining up to buy the cookbooks outside the event venue…

Guests awaiting for the event to begin…

A familiar face spotted amongst the list of guests is local actress Ariati Tyeb Papar

Another one was Marina Yusoff, seen here with her equally famous parents-in-law flanking her…

So too was Nurul Aini, the host of Queen Juara Memasak

Adi Rahman looking suave in his traditional outfit…

While Steve Dawson was all business-like…

The event was graced by the traditional Malay dance item performed by Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts group…

Rita Zahara with her opening speech…

She broke down when she was speaking about her mother, I too felt a lump in my throat and tears welled in my eyes at this point…

The guest-of-honour, Dr. Fatimah Lateef, MP for Marine Parade GRC

The cake cutting ceremony. The cake was made to look like the cookbook. A pity I did not get a snapshot of it, as many people had gone up to see and eventually taking a piece of it to eat…

The percussion band that played traditional and evergreen hits…

Madam Som Said and daughter-in-law, Marina Yusoff, endorsing the book…

Rita signing the book for my mother…

Video Highlights of Konsert Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu…

Start of a brand new work / school week for working adults and school-going children / teenagers. I know Monday is quite a blue day for some, if not most of us. In the last entry, I did mention that I was going to upload video clips on the above subject matter, the sold-out Konsert Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu held at Fort Canning Park on New Year’s Day. So wait no more as I have compressed the night’s happenings into three parts. Apologies if the sound you hear is not of good quality. I was seated quite close to the speakers that night, so I dunno if that might have an impact on what you would be hearing. Thank you to everyone who dropped by to read the last entry last Friday, which resulted in my readership jumping four-folds. I normally struggle to get a daily visitorship of even 300, so that was quite a memorable day to savour. Thanks to DJ KC for promoting my entry on his Facebook page…

Konsert Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu…

For regular readers of this blog, I know this comes as a massive surprise to you, but no, I was not at The Float @ Marina Bay for Countdown 2012, even though one of my favourite singers, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, was performing on my 33rd birthday. I was happily relaxing and watching the show from the comfort of home, and I would have probably gone had my favourite team not played that night. But the night of rest did me good as I welcomed 2012 by attending the RIA 897FM-organised “Konsert Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu” event held at Fort Canning Park on the first day of the new Gregorian calendar. I have been delaying this particular entry for the fact that I have been quite busy, to the point I was reminded to post this entry as soon as possible by none other than the creative mind behind the success of the most highly rated programme on the radio station, none other than DJ KC himself.

Speaking as the co-administrator of the official blog of the said programme, I have witnessed first hand how the show has evolved since he took over the helm some four years ago from the previous incumbent Zan Sofiyan. KC has done such a fantastic job to lift the quality standards of the programme to the point that his occasional absences through leave or sickness is lamented by fans on the station’s official Facebook page Wall. Even when there were occasions he was not feeling well, he soldiered on, or came back just to do the two hour programme, its popularity spreading across the world with the availability of internet radio and via radio applications on smart phones. I know how popular it is just by looking at the number of emails received by fans of the programme who shared their personal experiences, a bulk of them coming from across the Causeway, as well as as far away as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, even Dubai. The show is such a hit that to have a concert was a good way to show the station’s appreciation to the fans.

This popularity was very much evident on the day of the concert, when 6000-odd fans thronged the lush lawns of the Fort Canning Park. When I reached the venue close to 6pm, a long queue had formed outside the entrance. I was fortunate enough to get a parking lot as a vehicle had moved off just as I was nearing it. We were allowed in at about 6:20pm and it was a sight to behold seeing the area being filled to its brim. I have never seen a local concert filled with just local acts get such a positive response as this. But then again, the topic of the supernatural has always been a fascinating and intriguing one in our community so it was no surprise that even without big names to grace the event, the theme itself guaranteed bums on the lush green grass of the venue. And I believe this was the first supernatural-themed concert held in a grand way in Singapore. Forget any Halloween-related parties, but correct me please if I’m wrong here.

I was pleased to know that a space was set aside for concert-goers to observe their obligatory responsibilities and it was heartening to see quite a number of people observing them judging by the queues and patient waiting outside the area. The only thing I was a little peeved about was why did the pre-show host, who happened to be one half of the hosts during the Grand Final of the Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament, choose to use the time between 7:10pm and 7:45pm to hype the crowd and encouraging them to make a lot of noise??? I personally felt it was disrespectful to those who were observing their responsibilities. He could have at least started say around 7:30pm, not right smack when people were saying their prayers. I dunno if this was the station’s decision to hype the crowd as early as possible or was it the pre-show host’s own doing, but I hope in future, a little amount of respect would be observed. I’m sure for anyone who observes their daily obligations, they hate to be interrupted or disturbed by things happening around them and want full concentration.

Fiza O and Hassan Salleh…

The show began with the hosts Fiza O and Hassan Salleh, the station’s programme director coming on stage dressed as what appeared to be hideous characters. Not sure what character was Mr Hassan supposed to be portraying as he was dressed what appeared to be “Hantu Kum-Kum“, but Fiza was dressed as a “Langsuir” complete with make up on her lower neck to show that her head was previously “detached” from her body. As they welcomed us to the show and thanked the various sponsors, they also took the time to remind the audience that the concert also marked the official launch of the “Misteri Jam 12: Jangan Takut Hantu” VCD / CD containing horror-themed songs normally heard during the weekly two-hour programme. These songs were composed and performed by our local acts as well as DJ KC himself. The VCD / CD also contains a short film titled “Saka Mak Minah” and acted by none other than the deejays themselves. On top of that, there are short video clips of KC reading ghost stories at locations in Singapore regarded as haunted. The VCD / CD was sold at a special rate of $18.00 that night whereas it is available in good stores today at a price of $19.90. Suffice to say, the popularity of the programme guaranteed three-thousand odd copies being sold that night!!!

Besides the concert marking a milestone for the radio station with the launch of the VCD / CD, it also coincided with the annual Projek Rentak competition organised by RIA 897FM and COMPASS. As the theme of this concert was of the supernatural and horror, songs composed for this competition also had to have the same or related theme. The three finalists who came on stage to perform their songs – Klutz (“Mentera Dendam Puteri“), Iskandar Rawi (“Lari“) and Md Bakti Ridhwan (“Madah Pohon Beringin“) did not disappoint. Each song and performance had their own strengths and speciality. In the end, the humour-infused “Lari” was chosen as the winner of the competition, even though my personal favourite was Klutz‘s “Mentera Dendam Puteri“, who came in second. Md Bakti Ridhwan‘s “Madah Pohon Beringin” bagged the Best Performance of the night to go along with the second-runner up tag that he received. All the compositions were judged by Brader Bo, Moliano, Sham Wahab and Noor Hasnah Adam; music producers, composers and lyricists in their own rights. The Best Performance category was judged by Dr. Edmund Lam, president of COMPASS and Ms Zakiah Halim, Assistant Vice-President of Malay / Indian / Expat Programming for Mediacorp Radio.

Iskandar Rawi (second from right) was the winner of Projek Rentak: MJ12, seen here with Ms. Zakiah Halim and his fellow performers receiving their award…

I will not delve too much about the other performances and segments that night as you would be able to view them in the video montage that I will put up in due time. I was suitable impressed with the guest band that was formed (they called themselves “The Momoks“), led by Brader Bo, with Fadly of X-Tech / No Strings Attached fame on lead vocals. Fans of the 2008 Anugerah Band competition would remember Fadly for the vocal powerhouse that he is, and that night he whipped the crowd into frenzy with his unmatched prowess. I know that certain quarters complained that it felt more like a rock concert but I thought the songs performed that night were given a fresh injection with much needed energy. As the title of the concert had stated, “Jangan Takut Hantu“, the pumped-up feeling I got from the blasting music sure as hell made me forget about being scared of ghosts. If that was their intention by playing that kind of loud music, then I think they have achieved their aim. Other local acts who performed that night were Shafyre, Kraton, Rifaah Ridzuwanulhakim of 2D fame and B8, whom I heard, regrouped again specially for that night only.

One itinerary in the programme line-up that had the crowd in stitches was the “Momok Paling Sachok” segment. Concert-goers were encouraged to dress as ghosts, even the stagehands and concert crew were dressed as scary characters. Most notable of all was one of the crew members (if I’m not mistaken, it’s DJ Harie Azhari of XFM 963FM / Warna 942FM), who portrayed the irritating “Makcik Keropok” by walking to and fro giving crackers and asking for money in return. The five finalists who went on stage for that particular segment certainly had to be given full marks for the effort they came up with. I must say most in the audience were also very much impressed by their respective get-ups. Some even formed queues to take a photograph with them. In the end, the one who won the segment was the lady by the name of “Wati“, who was dressed as a Pontianak. The funny part about that segment was not only were the “ghosts” cracking jokes on stage with the hosts for the segment, Aura Shai and Nity Baizura, but they were also game enough to dance along to the tunes of Inul Daratista‘s dangdut songs.

The true star of the show: DJ KC…

All in all, I had an enjoyable night. What was supposed to end at 10:30pm ended about thirty-five minutes later, but I did not feel the time passing by at all. I heard complaints afterwards that the sound system was bad. Where I was, it did not feel that way, maybe because I was seated quite close to the speakers. I was just thankful that I had premium “seats” in the house. As the co-administrator of the Misteri Jam 12 official blog, I felt heartened by the turnout of the concert. I felt extremely happy and proud for the producer of the concert himself, KC, whose hard work to make this programme and subsequently the concert a success, paid off big time. People only see the end product of his efforts but the amount of time and sacrifices he puts in daily to entertain listeners is extremely commendable, especially moreso when days leading up to the concert, he stumbled upon several personal obstacles to overcome physically and mentally. For that, respect and my humble salute is accorded to him and to me, he was the true star of the concert. No one can begrudge him of that.

Video clip courtesy of DJ KC‘s Youtube channel…

Snapshots of Konsert MJ12: Jangan Takut Hantu

Fazly Sapuan, lead singer of Klutz, performing “Mentera Dendam Puteri“, the group’s composition that made it to the finals of Projek Rentak: MJ12.

Iskandar Rawi, the composer of “Lari“, the other finalist of Projek Rentak: MJ12

Md Bakti Ridhwan, the son of Md Khair Md Yasin of Rausyanfikir fame, performed his composition “Madah Pohon Beringin” with his father contributing to the lyrics to the song…

Dr. Edmund Lam, President of COMPASS and Ms. Zakiah Halim, Assistant Vice-President of Malay / Indian / Expat Programming, Mediacorp Radio, were the judges for Best Performance of the night by the three finalists of Projek Rentak: MJ12

Moliano was one of the judges for Projek Rentak MJ12

Klutz awaiting their fate…

Projek Rentak: MJ12 2nd Runner-Up: “Madah Pohon Beringin“…

Iskandar Rawi and friends bracing themselves for the final results…

Klutz receiving the 1st Runner-Up award…

 

 “Makcik Keropok” was in the house as well…

Fadly of X-Tech was in his element that night…

So was Brader Bo

 Shafyre performed “Jampi Serapah” and “Mimpi Duyung“…

 

 Nity Baizura and Aura Shai took over hosting duties for the “Momok Paling Sachok” segment…

 

 Contestants of the “Momok Paling Sachok” competition…

Makcik Keropok” dances along to Inul Daratista‘s “Goyang Inul“...

He must have breathed through his mouth throughout the night…

The winner, Wati the “Pontianak“…

Fuzzley of B8…

 Izad of B8

 KC reading a story to the audience…

 Lamenting how hot the mask was…

Rifaah Ridzuwanulhakim of 2D fame, performed “Hantu Relek One Korner“…

Rico, the younger brother of Rifaah

KC performed a medley of songs normally heard during the Misteri Jam 12 programme…

Rifaah unmasked…

 

Surayah of Kraton performing Misha Omar‘s “Pulangkan“…

She was complemented well by her husband, Jufri, whose showmanship is a hallmark of the group’s performances…

Kraton also performed their hit single “Fanaq” that night…

KC gave away these cushions to the audience…

The finale witnessed the performers singing the classic hit “Pontianak“, made famous by Allahyarham Dato’ Ahmad Daud

Sinaran Hati – Ikhlas Memberi 2012 Promo…

(Graphic poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA) Trust Fund, in collaboration with Mediacorp Suria, aims to raise half a million dollars through the annual charity concert Sinaran Hati, which will be telecast live from MediaCorp TV Theatre on Friday, 13 January 2012 at 8.30pm on Suria. This is the sixth year MediaCorp Suria and Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA) Trust Fund are collaborating, with this year’s theme “Ikhlas Memberi” (Giving Sincerely) calling upon donors to come forward, and donate as much and as sincerely as possible.

The show will see the reunion of the AnugeraHitz.SG hosts Fauzie Laily and Ria 89.7FM radio deejay, Fiza O. The concert promises a diverse fusion of classic, contemporary and ethnic song numbers by the recent Anugerah winners Sarah Aqilah and Rahayu Ridwan,  as well as Singapore Idol winners Taufik Batisah and Sezairi Sazali. There will be a unique feature during the two hour long concert, featuring contemporary never-been-done-before Zapin dance segment, choreographed by local celebrity, Marina Yusoff from Sri Warisan and performed by artistes such as Maiya Rahman, Elfee Ismail, Norseha Sani, Shahrin Azhar, Shahril Wahid and Endang Rahayu.

Amni Musfirah (photo courtesy of LittleCreators)

Viewers can also look out for Amni Musfirah, a young and upcoming singer who has performed in ChildAid Asia 2011, in Tokyo, Japan and the opening and closing of Asian Youth Games 2009. What’s more, there will be a heart-warming skit item featuring popular comedians Arif Samsudin, Sahfuddin Mahfudz, Husin Saaban, Alias Kadir and Singapore‘s P.Ramlee look-alike, Shafiie Hamzah. Twenty artistes will be manning the donation lines during the live telecast of the show. In addition, Malaysia‘s Anugerah Juara Lagu 2011 grand winner, Ana Raffali, known across the shores for performing with her guitar and wearing baju kurung as her trademark, will be the guest performer of the night.

Ana Raffali last performed on these shores during last year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 event…

TAA Trust Fund or Hari Raya Charity Box was founded in 1992 with a mission to help the poor and less fortunate Malay/Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadhan. Since 2006, TAA has disbursed $4.3 million to 24,700 beneficiaries over the years. A total of $473,545 was raised during the telecast of Sinaran Hati last year. Gracing the event is Guest-of-Honour Major General Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts.

(Graphic poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Video Highlights of Anuar Zain’s Meet-&-Greet Fans Session…

This entry was supposed to be posted before 2011 was up, or at least the clip was supposed to be included at the end of the previous entry. But illness and other pressing matters took over, which prevented me from editing the video clips my wife had painstakingly helped to record during the aforementioned session. I’m sure for ladies out there who cannot get enough of the “King of Malay Ballads“, this video is probably heaven sent. I still have two entries up in store from recent events I attended (no, one of them does not include Countdown 2012 at The Float @ Marina Bay), but I’m going to stagger posting them up in the next few weeks. Work has started for the new year and blogging is just a passion I’m doing during my free time, so if any of you are impatiently waiting for the next entry to be up, you need to hold on to your horses. Nonetheless I present to you highlights of Anuar Zain’s Meet-&-Greet Fans Session to kickstart my 2012 entries. Enjoy!!!