The start of the new Gregorian calendar year normally brings with it fresh hope and optimism for what is to come in the next 365 days. But somehow I am starting the new year in this domain of mine a little solemn as I try to come to terms with the fact that one of my favourite radio deejays and one-time mentor during my radio internship back in 1998, none other than Hafeez Glamour, ends his time with the only station that he has been with since its formation on 1st December 1990. This past fortnight, rumours had been swirling that there will be major shake-ups between the two local Malay radio stations for the coming year ahead and this is normal amongst all the Mediacorp-owned radio stations as they inject and infuse new ideas to attract the listeners into tuning in to their daily programmes.
Today 3rd January 2014 marks his final day on RIA 89.7FM, ending a twenty-three year long association, for which he has been the mainstay throughout, whereas those who had joined the station when it first formed, had all gone over to sister station Warna 94.2FM or left for pastures anew. So the question is, where is Hafeez Harun a.k.a. Hafeez Glamour heading to come 6th January 2014??? Of late he had posted several teasing photos of him on his personal social media platforms, some depicting him possibly going the way of our Asian Idol, Hady Mirza. The truth is, Hafeez will still be heard on radio, but will be moving to Warna 94.2FM, where he will team up with wacky deejay Dyn Norahim for the 10pm-2am slot. I did not get the chance to talk about his “Demi Adriana” book launch back in 2012 due to my busy schedule, but here I am dedicating this entry to thank him for his past twenty-three years with RIA 89.7FM.
He had been the last one standing amongst his fellow peers who had transferred over to Warna 94.2FM, but he has been standing proud and tall with RIA 89.7FM all these years, winning the “Most Popular Deejay (Malay)” award for eight years over the past decade, beating his younger colleagues. His success can be attributed to his drive, positive outlook to life, honesty and above all, sincerity in delivering his daily responsibilities to entertain the masses tuning in to him. Mention the name “Hafeez Glamour” and people already know who he is and his infectious personality. It is a brand name in our local Malay community that needs no further introduction nor elaboration. An icon that also shares the same birthday as the station he is leaving.
Me and bro Hafeez go back a long, long way since 1996. Our acquaintanceship began when I took part in one of his daily phone-in karaoke segments back then and won myself a couple of CDs for winning that particular week’s contest. The following year, me and my two buddies entered “kRIAtif 97“, in which bro Hafeez was the producer, and we won the Impersonation Category, mimicking our favourite group KRU. But it was in 1998 that our acquaintanceship grew into a friendship, when I did my polytechnic internship with both Malay radio stations. Bro Hafeez was a good mentor like all the other deejays back then, teaching me the ropes of radio broadcasting and even bringing me out to observe some of their outdoor activities like his Kafe-Teh-RIA segment, whereby there were days when he and co-partner Morniyati Tukimin would be visiting listeners at their work places.
During the period when sending sms to the radio station to air our views or dedications was the in-thing (circa 2003-2006), my nick was a constant mention in his daily radio programme with bro Syah Ibrahim (RIA Jamm). I have to admit back then, I was given plenty of opportunities to get my messages and opinions across, contributing to the success of his daily show, even when I ran the risk of upsetting the other listeners with my no-nonsense and honest-to-goodness comments. Even though my comments bothered on being provocative towards the mentality and mindset of our community, bro Hafeez was always there to see the positive aspect and reiterated my views, to the point others felt he was guilty of favouritism and bias towards yours truly. I can say, thanks to his daily radio programme back then, that is where I learned to be more vocal and more confident in expressing my views, which in turn led to the birth of this blog of mine.
What I admire most about bro Hafeez is his level of patience in entertaining listeners, always having that sense of empathy towards those who might be a little slow in putting their points across or those who might be a little difficult for us to understand, especially the Indonesian domestic workers, who count as his biggest fans. Which is why till today, he is no doubt someone they look up to and the go-to guy when it comes to hosting events involving these foreign workers. Another unforgettable memory I have of bro Hafeez was how, at such short notice before my wedding in 2005, he agreed to host my wedding dinner along with bro A B Shaik. I was surprised to secure his services but I knew, even before asking, that he would never disappoint me on my big day. Till today, me and the wife are so thankful to him and bro Shaik for entertaining the guests who had waited for our arrival almost an hour later than scheduled.
During his time with RIA 89.7FM, bro Hafeez had always encouraged listeners to increase our knowledge through inculcating the culture of reading into our lives. A prolific writer himself having done stints with Manja magazine and other external writing projects, the highlight of his twenty-three year career as a radio presenter has to be when he produced two books, “Diari DJ” and “Demi Adriana“. Again, I am thankful to bro Hafeez for dedicating one of the characters potrayed in his book “Diari DJ“, to me, a form of recognition to several listeners who have added colour to his daily radio programme and segments. When most listeners were always up in arms over my direct and often-brash comments on air, he stated in his book that he found my comments “meant for the good of the community”. High praise indeed!!!
During his time with RIA 89.7FM, bro Hafeez could be attributed to giving the opportunity to up-and-coming acts to display their potential and talents via his segments like “Karaoke 897” and “Opening Act Go Glam“. The likes of Hetty Sarlene, Malaysian singers Fazli Zainal and Izzla, and of late, Aisyah Aziz, Sufie Rashid and Kamsani Jumahat are just a few names I can think off-the-cuff, who have benefited from being spotted through his daily radio programmes and have reaped the rewards of currently being known or have established themselves in the scene, either locally or across the Causeway. Hopefully RIA 89.7FM will continue this legacy to introduce and help push through new talents through segments like “Singa Maksima” and “SG“.
News of his impending transfer to Warna 94.2FM might shock many, especially since he has a very strong fanbase of followers, but I think there could be positives in the long run. Of course, new changes need time to bed in, but overtime I guess he will be a valuable asset to the sister station. Again I thank bro Hafeez for taking the trouble to call me up last weekend to confirm his transfer, even though I had heard the rumours and made my own deductions through several veiled status updates on Facebook both by bro Hafeez himself and his soon-to-be new sparring partner, Dyn Norahim. To bro Hafeez, thank you for everything you’ve done both on a personal level as well as entertaining us all daily for twenty-three years on RIA 89.7FM. May your new posting give you more joy and satisfaction to what you have achieved all these years and I wish you nothing but more success in your upcoming endeavours!!!