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Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali welcoming us to the show…

Back again for the fourth instalment of my Anugerah Skrin 2016 entry series. I guess for this week, I will not be blogging too much in this entry as a lot of things have been said so far and I don’t think I need to blabber on unless I feel there is a need to. Continuing from where we left off last week, it was Group B‘s onus to show what they have learned from their Group A counterparts and to apply whatever knowledge and tips they had gained from watching the third episode. Expectations on the contestants were high as a result of how much they would have gained from their mentors, by watching their counterparts and having an extra week to refine their respective performances.

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Sharon Ismail was busy entertaining wobby Dyn Norahim when I snapped this photo of the judges during the commercial break…

As with last week’s episode, the show was aired live from Studio 4 and unlike last week, the number of audience was slightly reduced to fit in the small constraints of the studio. Where Group A did their outdoor hosting segment at the Kampung Glam area, this past week, Group B were taken to Chinatown to share interesting trivia on some of the landmarks found in the area, another week of empowering our general knowledge. For the fourth week in a row, the guest judge was a lady and she was none other than award-winning writer, actress, comedian and theatre practitioner Haryani Othman.

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Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani…

Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani opened the night’s competition as the two performed to a credible standard befitting of what the judges had wanted to see. I like the fact how Ain is comfortable with whatever role that is given to her. Given time, she will be able to carry them off with ease. If there are reference points she can take in and learn from from some of our local actresses who are quite prolific in a plethora of roles, she can look no further than to Episode One‘s guest judge, Masturah Ahmad, and Farhana M. Noor, who was coincidentally seated amongst the audience along with her beau, Shannon Berkett. Ain is also at ease as a host, a pleasant face to look at and calm with her delivery. With the night’s showing, Ain automatically placed herself as the standard bearer for all the other young ladies to emulate or do one better.

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As for her sparring partner Fadli, he has the looks and height that are pre-requisites of leading men the industry always looks out for. Not much flaws I could detect from his hosting segment, however he also has to back it up with a more natural delivery in terms of intonation and stressing of words. As a pair both in the hosting and acting segments, Ain and Fadli looked to have a very good chemistry going between them, even if judge Sharon Ismail did caution the latter not to stereotype his role too much, because not all “Mat Reps” speak in that lingo. Judge Khairudin also advised both of them to listen to the other and react accordingly during their hosting segment. It might look trivial to the general viewer, who might feel that it is not much of an issue and were not able to detect during their performance at a glance, but this is one technical aspect that they can learn to be better hosts on television.

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Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid…

Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid were next, hosting just opposite Pagoda Street where the iconic and 189-year old Sri Mariamman Temple resides. From observing their hosting segment, I note a much better and mature performance by Yaya as compared to the group’s first week. Her delivery came off natural, something which was not evident the last time out. Iskandar was also good with his delivery but like what Sharon had pointed out afterwards, he was swaying a bit too much and his slouching posture did not make for good viewing. As a pair though, I like their chemistry and Iskandar it has to be said, was a much better team player this time as compared to Episode 2. He did almost steal the limelight again with his wisecrack about the temple’s years of existence and Yaya’s age, but that banter came off nicely this time. I personally feel that bantering between the contestants has been sorely lacking during their hosting segments, the ability to poke fun at the other without being too demeaning over the other or those that come off naturally without looking as though they were rehearsed over and over again.

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On to their acting segment. Both were taken to task by guest judge Haryani Othman for failing to make necessary research on their respective roles, which ultimately did not come across as believable. While I more or less agree with Haryani‘s advice on a general basis, I think to give benefit of doubt to the contestants, when it comes to styling and what they wear for the night, I believe they only know what they will be wearing on the day itself. Yes perhaps they could have done some research beforehand with regards to their respective characters, but we have to remember, most of the contestants are still raw when it comes to looking and acting their parts. They still have not yet mastered the technique of improvising with the tools that they have or gotten there and then. It is a tough wake-up call but I believe they would be mindful and start to be more of thinking actors from now on. Overall, I found their acting generally ok and comfortable, enough at least for them to remain for another week.

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Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy

Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy were up next and their hosting segment brought them to South Bridge Road, just opposite the Jamae Mosque. In my Episode 2 entry, I noted that Farid needed to open his mouth a bit more, add a bit of zest to his voice and not come across as deadpan. Though he did try, but I felt it wasn’t enough and the seeds of doubt on his progression to the next round was sown, moreso when it looked as though he was trying to recall his lines or saying his lines word-for-word as though his target audience were children. This resulted in a less-than-natural delivery and was rightfully pointed out by Sharon Ismail. Suharti knows her strength lies with that pleasant tone of a voice of hers. But there was a distinct lack of chemistry between her and Farid, because there was little interaction between them. Sharon pointed out that Suharti looked less than comfortable with her fluency in the language no thanks to her slang, but I personally feel it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be after watching it again on and rewinding at least five times just to observe on their flaws.

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Where I slightly disagree with Sharon‘s observations in the previous paragraph, I agree with what she said when she pointed out that Farid and Suharti‘s acting were actually much better than their hosting segment, in terms of chemistry between them, but it also did not mean that their whole performance was good. As a team they were endearing and actually looked quite a cute couple together, but when we separate their performance from the other, that is where I noticed the glaring flaws. Rule number one is to never forget your lines and if you do, improvise and ad-lib as best as possible, though when it comes to tripping of words, it does affect the rest of their performance somewhat. Both were guilty of it, especially Farid during the beginning of his act, whereas it looked like Suharti managed to cover up a bit when her character mentioned how long they have been married together. Farid did not put enough emotions into his voice intonations, sounding as though there was no life in his dialogue. It was easy to predict that he would be favourites to leave the competition that night.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Wirda Elliesa

Finally down to the final two, Wirda Elliesa and Syaiful Ariffin. I think if I were to make a comparison with their hosting segment along with the rest in Group B, they were probably almost on par with the featured pairing before them. Syaiful‘s strength is in acting and he can also definitely carry a mean tune when he sings. But hosting I feel is something that is not quite him feeling at home just yet. I find his delivery a bit bland and at times, he looked like he was slouching as well. Wirda on the other hand, needs to maintain the same level of energy right till the cameras stop rolling because it showed evidently the imbalance of it throughout her performance. I am not sure about how others perceive her performance. From what I observed, she looked a bit listless and less focused with too much hand movements. There was a moment when she tried to adjust her hair but decided not to halfway. There was also little chemistry between them, and at one point, their shoulders banged into the other, not aware of what’s going on around them and this was pointed out by Khairudin.

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With regards to their acting, Haryani chided them for not having enough imagination. Again, to give benefit of doubt, I believe the contestants would only have been exposed to their props on the day itself and would have only a few hours to improvise and make do with what they have. In terms of realism, I think the start when Wirda‘s character came into the scene before asking Syaiful‘s character which bus goes to Bedok, she could have at least gone over to the bus stop sign and see the service numbers that passed through the stop, just to create a ruse for her character to open a conversation with him. Overall, I think theirs was a performance that was quite disappointing because it felt as though one was waiting for the other to act and react. Even then, the reaction time felt a bit slow. For someone who is an undergraduate in Theatre Arts and a theatre practitioner, I expected more from Syaiful and I feared that both could be eliminated by the end of their performance. It was either them, the contestants before them or one each from either pairings.

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Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy clearly dejected after learning their fates…

As it turned out, it was the pairing of Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy who were eliminated at the end of the show. Personally I thought it was going to be Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa. I believe the latter also felt that way because she was already looking down and trying to fight back tears before the cameras started rolling for the final reckoning. It is tough for the judges to decide and I’m sure they would have deliberated over their decision. Wirda should take this reprieve and come out stronger in a week’s time because if someone like Yaya could improve between the second and fourth episodes, I believe she can too. It is going to be even tougher with another two from each group slated for elimination over the next two weeks of competition. Again I would like to tell the contestants to please look up to the cameras and smile more. When you have progressed to the next round and shedding tears or looking glum, you do not give the impression that you are pleased to have made it for another week. Show a bit of joy please and leave the crying backstage when the end credits have rolled.

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The Top 6 from Group B

I did say in the last entry, no one has actually stood out yet. After Episode 4, I believe Ain Zainal has staked enough claims to be at least in the semi-final rounds. I would like to say she is good enough for the Grand Finals but anything can happen between now and then, and I do not wish to jinx her in that respect. She just needs to maintain her level of consistency, grow as the weeks progress and everything will hopefully work in her favour. Anyway it was nice to see Haryani Othman playing the role of bad cop, brutally honest with her views and a fresh perspective at least for me, even if I disagree to some extent with some of her comments. It is a nice wake-up call for the contestants to constantly do their homework, research on their roles, be more of thinking actors rather than rely on every script given to them and taking them at face value. I expect the judging and assessments to be even stricter now that we’re into a month of the competition.

P.S. I will include snapshots of Episode 4 on a later date as I have other commitments to tend to and have no time to edit almost two thousand shots I snapped that night. So do come back soon to view them…


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 3 Recap…

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We’re coming into the fourth week of competition and last Tuesday, Group A returned to our television screens intent on showing that they have improved over the past fortnight. I was also eager to watch and see how they would perform after going through the various classes and guides from their respective mentors, Rilla Melati and Najib Soiman. Anyway, quirky or sadistic as it may sound, I’m beginning to like the idea of seeing two contestants being eliminated each week. It means I have two lesser paragraphs to type as the weeks go on, by virtue of having less to comment on their hosting and acting segments. I might sound lazy but really, it can be quite tedious having to break down typing your posts throughout the week with other commitments in hand. Not to mention watching the programme again on to restudy their performances before making my personal assessments and editing the photographs I snapped live from the Mediacorp TV Theatre.

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A beaming Siti Hajar Gani joined the panel of jury last Tuesday

Speaking of the Mediacorp TV Theatre, from the comfort of the large venue we’ve been accustomed to, for this past Tuesday and tomorrow, the show was and will be brought to you live from Studio 4, a smaller but more intimate venue. For those who have not been able to watch live shows at Caldecott Broadcast Centre, the place is about a quarter of the size of its TV Theatre counterpart. The audience is much closer and you can literally hear them from where you stand on stage. Movements are a bit restricted though due to space constraints and unlike the TV Theatre, I was stuck to one place. Though I am used to the venue having covered events like Anugerah Skrin 2010 and Ratu back in 2012 and 2013 before this, I still feel a little uncomfortable at times due to the restricted space. This past week, Siti Hajar Gani joined the judging panel, alongside our resident judges Khairudin Samsudin and Sharon Ismail.

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Hosts Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali

I am not sure if the change in venue of the live broadcast had something to do with a slight change in format for the competition, pertaining to the hosting segment which was held outdoors for the first time this year, but it does feel that way, even though it might be coincidental. This week, the contestants were brought to the Kampung Glam area to record their respective hosting clips. Unlike the first and second episodes where they did their hosting live at the TV Theatre, they were given the opportunity to experience hosting outdoors as well as relate on the history of some of the roads, places and landmarks found in the area. Which I found very useful as a viewer because I learned something new and valuable from the nuggets of information that were shared. Props and kudos to the producers and script writers (Netty Fiona Othman and Nurul Akhmar Elias) for doing their research and sharing it with us.

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Danish Ashraf and Nabihah Zainodin…

Danish Asyraf and Nabihah Zainodin kicked off the night’s competition and their task was presenting history nuggets to the viewers on Kampung Glam as well as the Sultan Mosque. There was a distinct lack of confidence on the part of Nabihah, forgetting her lines as well as looking unsure at certain points. Together with Danish, both sounded as though they were reading directly from a script in front of them. I get the impression that there was probably neither natural storytelling nor understanding of the history beforehand. At least that’s what I get from my own observations which can be interpreted differently by other viewers. This is where as presenters, one should also do their respective homework on the people or places they are presenting to the viewers. Prior understanding will more or less equip them and make their presentation more natural and believable.

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The theme for the week, which was light-hearted, felt like it was right up Danish‘s alley, something that suited his personality and speciality. But I was actually surprised that he somehow held back for reasons only known to him. I believe he could have exaggerated his role a bit and added more funny or over-the-top reactions. I am not sure if they had confidence issues that night, but Nabihah looked extremely uncomfortable and moody, even when the whole performance was supposed to be otherwise. It prompted judge Khairudin to comment that as an actor, she needed to identify the right graph and climax to her scene, which felt quite ordinary, at least to me. Her hair also seemed to have given her a bit of a problem and as a viewer, I was a bit irritated to see her hair covering her face more than half the time without getting to see more of her facial expressions.

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Shida Lestaluhu and Yamin Yusof

Shida Lestaluhu and Yamin Yusof were up next and their hosting segment brought them to nearby Haji Lane. I did not get to comment on Yamin when I did my entry on the first episode. His most glaring flaw which I managed to detect then was his inability to mouth his words clearly, making him sound either inaudible or he sounded as though he was speaking through gritted teeth. I’m sure his mentors would have brought this up with him as I could see some improvements during this hosting segment. Though it has to be said, like the first pairing, Yamin‘s delivery did not come across as natural and as though he was reading directly from a script. If I were to be more critical, Yamin was also quite wooden in terms of body movements. Which in a way, might have affected Shida a bit, because the chemistry between them did not quite hit it off. A bit of a waste because Shida is one of the better presenters amongst the contestants, thanks to her natural gift of a voice.

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My understanding of Yamin‘s character during their acting segment was that of a nerd whose simplistic way of thinking, resulted in him not having much luck at dating or winning over ladies’ hearts prior to his date. Based on his overall performance, I think there was a slight redemption to his hosting segment. Yamin however, has to be wary that he sometimes deliver his lines without hitting on the right emotions when the scene calls for it, or saying his lines without the right intonations. As for Shida, from this performance, I can say that comedy is not her cup of tea yet, because she was holding back and was a bit too serious for my liking. I had actually expected her to speak with an exaggerated accent, or even added a bit of arrogance to her character, having stayed in New York for five years prior to returning to Singapore. But overall, they both did quite ok even though there is still room for improvement in many aspects.

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Kamarul Arifin and Syafiqah Shahlan

Up next was the pairing of Kamarul Arifin and Syafiqah Shahlan. Where I enjoyed their respective hosting segments during the first episode, their pairing this time more or less maintained the same level of performance. Kamarul‘s pleasant voice and Syafiqah‘s positivity made their pairing a generally well-balanced one. Though I would like to caution Kamarul when it comes to energy. During the first part of his hosting, he looked like he was all up for it, but somehow his tone and level went down a notch halfway through, indicating a slight seriousness and then he suddenly became goofy. He also needs to control his facial contortions which I find a bit disturbing sometimes, and this I noticed since the first episode. The last fifteen to twenty seconds of their segment I felt was their best showing, but Syafiqah aced it throughout with her calmness and relaxed delivery, even though Khairudin brought up the fact that at times she sounded as though she was in a debate.

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Where they generally did well for hosting, I was squirming when I observed the first part of their acting performance. Kamarul clearly forgot his lines and tripped on his words when he said, “... semua orang tahu saya seorang butik yang terkenal…” As someone who has extreme OCD on mispronouncing of words, spelling and grammar, it did not sit down quite well with me. Moreso when it clearly affected his performance. Again, when it comes to the acting segment, there will be one person who would seem to be holding back. The effeminate character given to Kamarul, I felt was easy to execute, if he had studied some of judge Khairudin‘s past performances in similar roles. He should have just let loose and enjoyed himself out there but I am sure the forgetting of lines clearly affected his performance, which only improved as he went on. As for Syafiqah, Kamarul‘s performance might have affected her somewhat, but I felt she was a bit laxed overall, prompting Sharon Ismail to quip that she was too comfortable with her sitting posture and that her character felt like she had known Kamarul‘s effeminate character for years instead of them just getting to know one another. Their scene felt more like a talkshow than an acting performance.

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Nurul Nadia and Zaidi Zailee

Now for the last pairing, Nurul Nadia and Zaidi Zailee. I actually enjoyed their hosting segment the most, probably because of Nurul‘s overall outlook and performance, which I personally felt was the best amongst the eight contestants for the week. I cannot deny and this was also brought up by Sharon, that a good host should be pleasing on the eyes of the viewers and not only good with their delivery. Nurul had the perfect mix last Tuesday, even if it felt as though I was watching Fauzie Laily‘s missus, Nurul Huda presenting but with Huda Ali doing voiceover. No disrespect cos Nurul Nadia does have a passing resemblance to Nurul Huda and her voice tones are too similar to Huda Ali‘s. I’ve noticed this since I first watched her during the auditions back in November 2015. I remember telling Huda when we were observing the auditions that Nurul Nadia sounded exactly like her and I still stand by that even though Huda herself disagreed back then. As for Zaidi, if I were to separate his hosting performance from Nurul‘s, it felt like he did not stand out because his lines were limited and that he delivered it quite monotonously. Which was a pity because he had a good partner to spar with and he did not quite respond with the same energy.

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Finally their acting performance. Nurul‘s character as a tomboy required her to look and act the part. However I felt she was too pretty for the role with make up and all. But I note of the time constraints between her segment and the end where they have to look pretty and all in their more glamourous outfits for the final reckoning, so I cannot put the blame on whoever that had styled or made her up that night. Just that in terms of realism, it did not quite come off as believable. That aside and continuing with the general theme for the night amongst the contestants, there was that issue of holding back, both for Nurul as well as Zaidi. Nurul seemed quite afraid to mouth some of her words, whereas Zaidi suddenly mixed up his lines, jammed up and forgotten what he had to say before he was rescued by his partner. There’s also the issue of stereotyping. I don’t believe all tomboys speak with a deep voice and Nurul didn’t have to put up that voice tone, because she did not consistently retain that same level of depth throughout her performance. I think Zaidi was visibly affected by his earlier gaffe because throughout his performance, he was either deadpan or sounded as though he was reading from his script, sans the right emotions and intonations.

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Zaidi Zailee and Nabihah Zainodin, the latest casualties to be eliminated from the competition…

Like I said in the entry for the first episode, small margins would determine who would progress and who would be eliminated. I was half right when I guessed that Nabihah Zainodin was to be eliminated just before they announced the results at the end of the show. For the guys, I had half-expected Yamin Yusof to be eliminated but was not surprised when Zaidi Zailee was called out instead. In fact, I thought Zaidi would be eliminated in the first episode. It is definitely ironic to notice that the four contestants who were paired together in the first episode are now out of the competition. As viewers would have seen during the end credits, there were emotional scenes with all the other contestants who had progressed, shedding tears for their eliminated counterparts, though there were also some who cried because they were relieved at the opportunity to be given another shot at the competition when they thought they had bungled big time. I would however, like to advise all the contestants to smile more, especially when they are facing the judges for their post-performance assessments. I know they are tensed, but it does not make for good viewing when they all look so glum, moody and stressed out. Worst is if they were to look down towards the ground. Chin up, smile and warm yourselves to the cameras as well as your viewers. It would increase your likeability factor.

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Speaking of likeability, it was announced on Tuesday night that the Top 16 contestants stand to walk away with the subsidiary award of Most Popular Anugerah Skrin 2016 Male / Female contestants. Since the main competition is judged by the professional judging panel, these subsidiary awards sponsored by Radiglow, would be open to the public to vote for their respective favourites. Beginning from last Tuesday, 9 February 2016 right up till the Grand Finals night on 29 March 2016, one can vote for their personal favourites via the official Anugerah Skrin site on I believe you need to register and follow the instructions given in the site before being allowed to vote. Being neutral and impartial as always, I will abstain from voting even if eventually I have a personal favourite sometime down the road. At the moment, I do not have anyone I deem to be a standout. Usually for a competition like Anugerah Skrin, the winners or favourites will start to emerge from the semi-final round onwards, just like Huda Ali back in 2006 and Syirah Jusni in 2010. I just want to see a fair competition where the winners for the subsidiary awards are rightfully deserved via votes from their fans as well as loved ones.

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The Top 6 from Group A clearly emotional at the end of the show…

It is getting tighter by the week and I’m sure it will get very emotional with each passing week. I actually am thankful that I am given the opportunity to cover and watch the contestants live and see how they are like off-camera. They look like they are a tight bunch with almost everyone shedding tears after the show was over, but I’m only speaking based on how the competition is still in its infancy stage. It could be different when it gets more competitive and perhaps that’s when we might see some tensions, though I hope it will still be healthy in nature. Acting and hosting afterall need the performers to work together for a common cause and tensions will only affect their professionalism. It is still anybody’s game at the moment and nobody has stood out outright from Group A. I would like to say Danish Ashraf has been quite consistent, but he has also been quite fortunate because his roles so far have been right up his backyard. Between the ladies and gentlemen, the tougher fight is between the ladies because those left in the competition have shown they deserved to remain for the time being at least. It definitely is going to be tough for the judges to decide with each passing week. I’m just thankful I’m not in the hotseat to decide… 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 3

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 Recap…


(Promotional graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

It’s been ages since I last blogged on a weekly basis. Am still trying to get back into that old groove again now that Anugerah Skrin has begun in earnest. I guess when you get older and priorities change, so too do our personal interests. The creative juices and writing flair are probably still up there in my head waiting to be released, just that they need a little coaxing and cajoling because I have been lull for quite some time. I just hope I don’t blabber unnecessarily and go off-point. Unlike the first episode’s recap, I’ll be a bit more thorough with my assessments for this week’s episode. That means I will be more critical of their respective performances. I hope the contestants reading my thoughts and observations will take my criticisms in their stride and try to improve where they might be lacking. There’s nothing personal whenever I pour forth my thoughts, just rational and objective, so do not take heart nor despair if my observations are deemed too critical for your liking.

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This past Tuesday (2 February 2016), it was the turn of Group B to have made their television debut in this year’s competition. Ok maybe not all the ten featured made their official television debuts before this. One who is already familiar with the local Malay entertainment scene is Yaya Hamid, who has appeared in  several music video clips and promotional segments in programmes like Jus!, when she promoted her duet single “Jangan Main Cinta” with Hisyam Azmi some time back. As supporters of local Malay music would note, Yaya has released two solo singles “Taman Hati” & “Luar Biasa” before this, and was also featured in Haqym Mokhtar‘s “Semuanya Alright” music video. One could even note Yaya‘s unmistakable voice if you were to tune in to RIA 89.7FM these days and listen to her singing and rapping along to one of the station’s jingles, thanking its listeners for twenty-five years of loyal listenership. This competition is definitely different to what Yaya has been used to and she starts on a level playing field as the rest.

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Sharon Ismail and Khairudin Samsudin were joined by Rosita Hussin on the judging panel…

Before I move on, I would just like to correct myself from my last entry when I said that Rilla Melati was mentoring Group A in hosting skill aspects. Based on the information that was shared this past Tuesday, Rilla is in fact mentoring both groups. I like the fact that her role as mentor this year will be of great asset to the contestants. I remember chatting with her after one of the episodes back in 2010 when she was one of the two resident judges. She had hopes then of one day mentoring and coaching the contestants and this year, she got her wish. I hope the contestants are taking in her lessons well along with their respective acting mentors. Speaking of mentors, Group B‘s mentor for acting is Azhar Nor Lesta. As for the judges, Rosita Hussin joined the judging panel as guest judge this past Tuesday.

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Fadli Kamsani and Suharti Amy

Fadli Kamsani and Suharti Amy were given the honours to start off the night’s competition through their short hosting segment in the lead up to Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal‘s acting performance. I found their hosting chemistry a little imbalanced in terms of energy, delivery and execution, which made for a little viewing discomfort on my part. While Suharti was presenting in a relaxed manner, Fadli came across as a bit hyper and formal at the same time, with a lot of hand gestures and movements. I like Suharti‘s voice tone and style though, it’s like she’s a natural fit to present info-ed shows in time to come.

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As for their acting, I initially thought that Suharti‘s character was that of a student, or at least someone who was below twenty one years of age. Overall, their acting segment was generally good with Suharti‘s portrayal as a filial and concerned daughter, one of the better performances of the night. That was until Rosita commented that by right, Suharti‘s character was already supposed to be a married person. Due to that fact, I guess some points were taken away from Suharti for sounding a little kiddish. That last bit where Fadli‘s character had a heart attack was also a little unnecessary and too sudden though. Rosita was right when she said that there should have been a development leading up to that heart attack scare at the end.

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Muhammad Mursyid and Yaya Hamid…

From Mursyid and Yaya‘s hosting segment, I was reminded that hosting itself is an art form and it is not easy to capture the attention of your viewers unless you are confident and well-equipped with what you wish to present. It was clear that they had rehearsed the whole thing, including the part where Yaya was supposed to ask Mursyid if he knew the meaning of the term “house husband” and he was supposed to butt in and say he didn’t know even before she could complete her sentence, as it was shown in one of their rehearsal video clips. Such things should come off naturally without looking as though it was staged. Facial expressions usually give away that fact. There were also several short pauses by Mursyid, probably his own jitters in trying to remember his lines. Yaya was ok, her endearing smile keeping things interesting between them, but it has to be said, she needs to run away from sounding kiddish. Right now, if I were to see her as a presenter, it would be more suited to children shows.

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Right from the start, I just felt their acting segment was strange, in that they were switching from being serious to injecting humour and back to being serious in a matter of moments. Yaya‘s portrayal as a pregnant lady also did not come across as convincing, though I admit that I was looking at her as herself and not as the character she was supposed to be portraying. Even Sharon Ismail was not convinced with her portrayal though I would give marks to Yaya for playing the distressed role passably. The judges were quick to point out that Mursyid‘s character was seen flagging a cab when he came into the scene, whereas it was supposed to be Yaya‘s character who was supposed to “see” it first, a clear sign that logic and realism were not at play. Khairudin was also right to point out that Mursyid had played to the audience with his actions and movements. It would have probably worked well if this was a comedy skit for Mursyid, but sadly it was not. By the end of their segment, I had actually feared for their elimination, especially Mursyid.

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Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa…

Before they went live with this short hosting segment, Wirda Elliesa was teased by wobby host Dyn Norahim during the commercial break due to her passing resemblance to Malaysian rock queen Ella, though I personally am reminded of Dangdut queen, Amelina instead when I look at her. Along with Suharti Amy, Wirda‘s voice was music to my ears that night. There’s a certain huskiness mixed with calm and assertiveness to her voice, making her a possible candidate for hosting serious programmes. Farid Azhar on the other hand did ok. However, if there was a weakness to his presentation style, it felt as though he was trying to protect whatever gold or valuable stuff he had in his mouth. He needs to open up a bit more, add a bit more zest to his voice and not dithering towards being deadpan and monotonous. As a whole, they had a working chemistry going.

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Farid shocked the audience and even made yours truly a little startled when he began his acting segment by shouting at the top of his voice in frustration. As experts in the acting industry would often remind us, there are degrees to displaying anger and frustration and shouting at the top of the voice comes across as a bit amateurish, especially when he was overdoing it to stress on his level of frustrations. Farid also came across as rushed and like what Sharon had noted, I was also a bit puzzled as to why the lines suddenly switched from one possible scenario to another without giving them a better transition nor development. Wirda‘s portrayal as a physiotherapist was a good balance to Farid‘s angsty character though I felt she was a bit too touchy for comfort. Wirda though delivered her lines with the needed emotions and calming tone perfectly. The challenge for her now is to get meatier roles than this and to work on her facial expressions because there were moments when she looked like she had an evil agenda hidden when she smiled.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal…

When I observed Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal‘s hosting segment, I cannot help but feel that I was watching the hosts of a children’s television programme presenting. Something about their style and excessive facial expressions made me feel as such. Syaiful, the crooner with a host of other talents probably not known to the masses yet, tried his best to project different levels of voice projection and tone, though I struggle to see how it could have been useful to his presentation, especially when his partner was more relaxed than he was. Ain Zainal probably saved this segment between them by maintaining a level of calmness and not rushing through her lines. There are rough edges that’s for sure, but I think in time to come Ain might make a good host.

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They had the unenviable task of opening the night’s proceedings via the all-important acting component. Overall, I felt Syaiful and Ain did commendably well as a team, feeding off one another and striking enough balance in emotions. Like the judges had pointed out, they had set the benchmark for the night. Being a freelance theatre practitioner and student, I have high expectations on Syaiful doing better than his other male counterparts and he did not disappoint. Maybe if there was a grouse that I could make, it was that his tears were more visible than Ain‘s when I personally feel that more of the feeling of hurt should have rested on Ain‘s shoulders. Ain it has to be said, has been a consistent performer since the audition rounds. I can see that she is able to carry off different and varying types of roles. Which will bode well for her in her quest to progress in this competition.

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My initial fears on Yaya Hamid‘s possible elimination were doused when I observed how Yasmin Arissa fared during her hosting segment with Iskandar Shah. I guess it is safe to say that this segment probably brought down her overall score amongst the judges and signalled her elimination outright. Though from certain angles Yasmin reminds me of Adlina Adil, who was coincidentally watching live in the TV Theatre seated next to award-winning director M. Raihan Halim, there were no other notable similarities I could make between them. Her hosting was amateurish at best and she looked unsure at times, delivering her lines as though she was reading directly from the script. Iskandar Shah on the other hand was a bag full of confidence though I would caution him not to be over-confident and to be more a team player, cos he kinda showed a cocky side, as evident when he stole the limelight from Yasmin at the end of their short segment. Ok maybe that last part could have been planned earlier between them, but it didn’t make Yasmin look good in the end.

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As for their acting, it was probably the same as their hosting segment, with Iskandar doing much better than Yasmin. Something about Yasmin that night showed that she was playing catch-up to her other competitors. For one, her delivery of lines and emotions were not up to par and it looked like she was having confidence issues that night. Or maybe her jitters just got the better of her. As for her sparring partner Iskandar, I can see that this kind of antagonist role given to him suits him to a T. He could probably ace bad boy roles given to him from now on without breaking into much of a sweat. But like what Khairudin had pointed out, he needs to be aware of his surroundings and know where his fellow actor is moving before turning towards their direction.

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The dejected look on Mursyid‘s face was evident, whereas Yasmin would probably have expected her fate…

It is only the second episode and the first for Group B. But I believe if there were comparisons to be made between the two groups since the start of the competition, the latter group probably shaded their Group A counterparts by virtue of learning from the first episode, how they could improve on their respective performances and applying it. Which also means, the standard and learning curve would probably go up as the weeks progress, which definitely bodes well cos we want to see improvements made by all the contestants and not remain stagnant or even dropping to unwanted levels. I am still undecided if I would do a weekly assessment every week right up till the Grand Finals. I might continue doing so or I might not. It all depends on my personal commitments for the week. Till then I hope I have been honest enough with my personal observations…

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode One Recap

anugerahskrin2016promoposter(Promotional graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Anugerah Skrin, the reality television competition in search of the new faces to grace Mediacorp Suria channel in acting and hosting, has begun in earnest last Tuesday (26 January 2016). It seemed like yesterday that we had just witnessed the coronation of Erwin Shah Dawson and Syirah Jusni and here we are once again. Now into its third edition, this season’s competition promises to be better and more competitive. Judging by the first episode which I was fortunate to catch live from the Mediacorp TV Theatre, there is potential that it might upstage the 2010 cohort. This year, the show is hosted by the first Anugerah Skrin champion, Huda Ali, along with her 2006 alumnus, Shah Iskandar. Khairudin Samsudin once again returns as one of the resident judges and joining him as a weekly regular will be three-time Pesta Perdana Best Actress winner, Sharon Ismail.

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After a gruelling two-month search, sifting through hundreds of applicants and a few rounds of auditions, the Top 20 (which has since dwindled down to 18 from the first episode) consisting of ten male and female contestants will battle it out for ten weeks before a new set of winners will be crowned. The contestants have been split into two groups, five male and five female contestants in each group. From the first right up till the sixth episode, each group will alternate every week, with every week seeing one female and one male contestant being eliminated. The seventh episode, which will signal the semi-final round, will see both groups combining for the first time.

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Hosts of Anugerah SkrinHuda Ali and Shah Iskandar

To kick off the first episode, it was a special 90-minute show with the first half hour dedicated to showing the goings-on of the audition rounds held at SCAPE @ Orchard as well as at Caldecott Broadcast Centre. They also featured snippets of how some of the contestants were selected via special express passes at selected places in Singapore along with several Skrin alumni members like Nurul Akhmar, Syirah Jusni, Junaidi Sali and Imam Shah tasked to look out for potential candidates. The subsequent hour had Group A duking it out for a place in the next round and they consisted of Aidi Isham, Zaidi Zailee, Danish Ashraf, Kamarul Arifin, Yamin Yusof, Nabihah Zainodin, Nurul Nadia, Syafiqah Shahlan, Amalina Roslee and Shida Lestaluhu.

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Jury panel for Week OneSharon Ismail, Khairudin Samsudin and Mastura Ahmad

Mastura Ahmad, a name that does not need any further introduction, joined the judging panel as the first guest judge of the competition and this year, the Group A contestants will be mentored in the basic technical aspects of acting and hosting by Muhammad Najib Soiman, a very well-respected figure in the local theatre circle, and Rilla Melati, whose wealth of experience in the local entertainment industry will be very useful indeed in mentoring the contestants. Rilla, along with Huda Ali, are the mainstays of this competition since it began in 2006. The debut competition saw Rilla as host, the second one in 2010 as a resident judge and now her status has elevated her as a mentor. Huda as we know by now, was a contestant and eventual winner of the first edition, and hosted the second edition along with Suzairhe Sumari, with Shahril Wahid, the other winner in 2006, taking the role of roving host.

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Group A mentors – Muhammad Najib Soiman and Rilla Melati

Unlike the 2010 edition where I assessed every single individual performance right from the off, I will be changing tack a little this time around. It is only the first week of competition and I felt that I needed to warm up and view the contestants before assessing their respective performances henceforth. Time is also sadly not on my side this time as I am forever busy with my own personal commitments so perhaps for this and the next entry, I might keep things short or just summarise things as I see it. Anyway, I do not want to pressure the contestants unnecessarily like the last edition, even though I was probably the only local Malay entertainment blogger around.

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Group B contestants observing keenly the performances of their Group A counterparts…

As years pass and as I mature along with my thoughts, I want to take up the role of a big brother dispensing advice rather than criticising every single mistake or flaw that I see. I remember starting out as a very blunt reviewer, I did not mince my words and in turn I rubbed others the wrong way. I found out certain contestants felt afraid and pressured by some of my reviews even though I felt it was needed because the local media itself is always too kind towards its own talents, unlike those you see across our shores. I started to change my style during the Ratu competition back in late 2012, amidst loads of negative feedback from the masses on social media towards the contestants.

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Zaidi Zailee and Amalina Roslee

Of course I will not sugar coat my words, but a certain amount of compassion and benefit of doubt will be part of my weekly assessments. There are enough unqualified critics already out there on various social media platforms craving for attention and possible infamy, and though I have no formal background in acting and hosting, my 12-year experience in blogging about our local Malay entertainment scene I believe, puts me in good stead. What matters right now for all the contestants of Anugerah Skrin are the comments made by the judges and whatever tips they can gain from their respective mentors as well as milk the experiences of the hosts whom they will meet on a weekly basis. Never be too shy to ask around and do their respective homework.

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Nabihah Zainodin and Aidi Isham

For the record, the first episode saw the elimination of Aidi Isham and Amalina Roslee. As I was watching the show live and looking at their performances, I couldn’t help but feel that this current competition will be very competitive, with only minor details separating the ones advancing to the next round and those being eliminated. I for one feel that eliminating them in their very first episode is a bit harsh as it meant we only saw their talents within the space of just five minutes (two minutes of hosting and three minutes of acting). But this is the name of the game. I can only hope there will be a Wildcard Round where those eliminated but showed certain qualities to deserve a second chance, be invited again to show their mettle proper. There are ten weeks afterall and surprises might happen along the way. Reality competitions are never rigid in format anyway.

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Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin

As for those who impressed me to a certain degree that night, I noted the potential of Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin, not on television just yet, but more to radio. I totally enjoyed their hosting segment and as I closed my eyes and listened to them, I felt radio could have a new batch of presenters there waiting to be groomed. They have the crisp and pleasant tones one would associate with the voices of radio presenters out there. Another one that just went out and enjoyed themselves were Danish Ashraf and Syafiqah Shahlan. Based on the judges’ comments, I believe these two impressed them the most that night, with one being told that they did not need the competition to assert themselves into the local entertainment scene and the other having a lot of potential waiting to be released. Their energy and chemistry were the best that night for both hosting and acting, and it will be interesting to see how they fare when they switch pairings in Week Three.

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Danish Ashraf and Syafiqah Shahlan

I believe when the judges said one did not need the competition to assert themselves into the local entertainment scene, it was directed towards the direction of Danish Ashraf. From the start when they interviewed him during the aftermath of announcing the Top 20 who made it to the main television rounds, one could see that he is someone with a lot of self-confidence. It also helps that he has an added advantage after being involved in another recent reality television series in search of the new generation of comedians in Singapore, Kolej Komedi. Whatever experiences he gained during his stint then is being put to good use in this competition. He needs to be mindful not to come across as cocky though as some people might misinterpret his body language as such.

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Yamin Yusof and Nurul Nadia

My only hope is that Danish will challenge himself in more serious roles than the ones he is comfortable with and those that suit his bubbly personality. Because right now I see another Junaidi Sali in him, someone who is equally at ease playing comedic as well as antagonistic roles. Oh and he needs to stop talking about his lack of height cos he was not only talking about it during his interview but also during the short introduction leading up to his acting segment. A bit of it is nice for starters. Repeating it again and again makes him sound like a broken record and might turn others off because this is not meant to get him sympathetic votes. Where he lacks in physical stature, he can more than make it up with his big bag of potential. He just needs to remain consistently good and more.

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Aidi Isham and Amalina Roslee could still afford to smile upon knowing their elimination…

As for the eliminated contestants, like all reality competitions, this is never the end of the road. We’ve seen many reality contestants in this region as well as around the world, get eliminated early but gone on to create a name for themselves. It’s all about passion and hard work. No shortcuts and no two ways about it. I understand Aidi Isham has already appeared as a bit-part actor in several local productions and appeared in both Channel 5 and Suria. He can definitely build on from there, improve and perhaps get meatier roles in future. As for Amalina Roslee, she still has a lot of rough edges which need polishing, especially when delivering her lines and emotions. She might want to consider enrolling herself in acting classes to improve if she still has dreams of being in the scene.

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The ones who live to fight another day…

I would like to speak more on the other contestants I have not mentioned, but I guess I will leave it as it is and wait till the third episode to see more of them. Till then, here’s wishing Group B consisting of Yaya Hamid, Yasmin Arissa, Wirda Elliesa, Ain Zainal, Suharti Amy, Iskandar Shah, Syaiful Ariffin, Muhd Mursyid, Farid Azhar and Fadli Kamsani all the best for tonight’s upcoming episode. They were keen observers during the first episode sitting at the front row and would have picked up several useful tips. Their task will be to up the ante and quality of the performances already seen so far in this new season’s competition. Not that they need any further reminders from me… 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode One

LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition Promo

LalooLalangNY2016(Official promotional poster courtesy of LalooLalang By Huda Ali Facebook page)

LalooLalang Bazaar is back again this coming weekend!!! For the uninitiated, is the brainchild of local celebrity actress / host Huda Ali and ably assisted by her team, of which hubby, actor Den Sabari, is also a part of it. Apart from being an online ‘one stop shopping hub’, their main focus and objective have always been to gather online entrepreneurs, blogshops and small medium enterprises an opportunity and platform to work together. With the success of the very first LalooLalang Bazaar event held during Ramadhan back in July 2015 at The Ballroom @ East Coast by AB Shaik, the organisers have since come up with a New Year‘s edition which will be held this weekend at Aliwal Performing Arts Centre from 8-10 January 2016. Full details are on the promotional poster featured above.

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Member of Parliament, Mr. Zaqy Mohamad, launched the opening of the first Laloolalang bazaar on 4 July 2015

I was fortunate to have been invited to the opening launch of the very first LalooLalang Bazaar on 4th July 2015. I was also impressed by the huge turnout that day as well as the following day when I came again with my family to do our own spot of Hari Raya shopping. There was a variety of stuff being sold not only catering to the fairer gender but the men as well. A lot of the things being sold were also cheap and affordable and best of all, the vendors and stall proprietors, who were made up of mostly personalities from our local Malay entertainment scene, were patient and always armed with smiles, making the customers feel at home and at the same time apologetic when we were not able to purchase anything from them.

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Dyn Norahim, Sufie Rashid, Sheiryn Aisiqa and Nity Baizura joined by staff from Mediacorp Suria and Manja Magazine in promoting the Hari Raya edition of the local Malay entertainment magazine, where local celebrities shared their cooking and baking recipes for the Hari Raya festivities…

Based on the official LalooLalang Facebook page, which has been updating the list of vendors who will be involved this time round, there will be at least thirty vendors, a two-fold increase in the number of proprietors from the very first event. Where Beijing 101 Pte Ltd, Air Asia and Pokka Pte Ltd were the main sponsors of the last event, this time, Elegance Concept and Nippon Paint have joined forces with Pokka Pte Ltd to make this next edition a reality. Not only was the first LalooLalang Bazaar event a time for vendors to earn that little bit extra in light of the festive period, they also did their part in donating some of the earnings and proceeds to Muslim Kidney Action Association (MKAC), LalooLalang‘s beneficiary organisation.

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 The bazaar was given a touch of glamour with the presence of Malaysian-based actor Aaron Aziz, who was there to lend his support to wife Diyana Halik, who shared a collaborative effort with celebrity make-up artiste Fatimah Mohsin…

This New Year‘s edition promises something a little different with an Indie / Hipster-ish concept. And of course most of the vendors from the first event like ATP by Ariati, Rosita by Rosita Hussin, By NurFudge will be back. They will be joined this time by the likes of Studio Cafe, ChulopSG by The Syarifs, Kidz Runway and many more adding on to the list of personalities working in tandem with the bazaar event. I see this bazaar event as a means for vendors to complement one another with what they have to offer. Also, it is nice to see some of the local personalities coming together under one roof to make it successful and supporting one another. I wish for nothing but success for everyone involved, and may their respective business ventures flourish. For more information on the upcoming LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition event, do head on to their official Facebook page. For now, enjoy the photographs I took from the first event back in July 2015

RIA 89.7FM’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations…

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It has definitely been a long while since I last posted something in this domain of mine. I know I had promised before this that my next entry would be a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015. I have been quite tied up with my own commitments and still have to go through 3000-odd photographs from the 5000-odd that I had snapped that eventful night. I hope to post it up soon when I start to clear my annual leave. For now, I’ll share the event I attended about three weeks ago. At least this domain will not be dormant for too long.

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Kaw Kaw SG was the official event venue of the birthday bash…

RIA 89.7FM celebrated its twenty-five years of existence this past 1st December 2015 with a birthday bash held at Kaw Kaw SG, a chic restaurant situated at Aliwal Arts Centre. What was special about the birthday bash was, twenty-five lucky listeners got a chance to join in the fun through a week-long quiz during the week leading up to the event. I was supposed to attend their mini bash when they celebrated their 24th year anniversary last year held at Penang Street Buffet at Causeway Point but family commitments meant I had to give it a miss, but not this time.

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A shot of the cafe’s interior before the birthday bash…

I was fortunate to have been invited to cover the event and soaked in the festivities, not to mention, walked down memory lane reminiscing all the good memories of all the roadshows I attended, competitions I had participated and won, and also involved in some of the productions when I was an intern with both local Malay radio stations. Long-time listeners would remember me as part of the trio who impersonated KRU and won the Impersonation Category when the station organised the talent competition kRIAtif 897 back in 1997. That was the start of my love affair with the local Malay entertainment scene.

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The birthday bash was hosted by DJ KC and Dzar Ismail

Anyway back to the birthday bash. Not only were twenty-five lucky listeners able to join in, some of our local acts in the Malay music scene, were also invited to grace the event. And a birthday bash of this magnitude for the radio station would not be complete without the very pioneers who had paved the way and charted the road to where they stand today as a progressive and trendy station, that supports local acts and strives to give off optimal entertainment to the loyal listeners tuning in.

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The ones who have made RIA 89.7FM what it is today (from left): Hassan Salleh, Abdul Razak Rahim (RZ), Suriani Kassim (SK), Isadhora Mohamed, Raja Razie, Mohd Tahar Ghalib (TG), Morniyati Tukimin and Mariam Mas’od

It was nice to see the likes of Morniyati Tukimin, who was the first voice heard when RIA 89.7FM went live at 5pm on 1st December 1990, Suriani Kassim (SK), Abdul Razak Rahim (RZ), Mohd Tahar Ghalib (TG), Mariam Mas’od, Hassan Salleh and Isadhora Mohamed be a part of the occasion. Though I felt it would have been grander still had the likes of Hafeez Glamour, A B Shaik, Azmi Sempoi, Azmi Oh Yeah, Zarina Safuan, Chairul Fahmy, Zan Sofiyan and a host of other part-timers attended as well, but I guess all of them had their respective commitments to attend to.

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Art Fazil with an impromptu performance of “Relek Brader” with the two hosts…

We had special performances by the two current hotties in the local Malay entertainment scene, Sufie Rashid and Ryan Sufiyan, Farhan Shah who came all the way back from Perth, an impromptu performance by Art Fazil, Didicazli who introduced his new single “Izinkan Cinta“, as well as his protege, Hazirah Musfirah, a 14 year-old rising talent, and last but not least, former member of SleeQ, Syarif, who came with his expecting missus, Malaque Mahdaly. Initially, Dato’ Fazley Yaakob was slated and promoted to perform, but he was unable to make it due to last minute commitments. Nonetheless, those who had performed, more than made up for the non-appearance and everyone still felt contented and left the event feeling enjoyed.

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The attendees and guests of the birthday bash cramming together for a group photograph…

Another special aspect of the birthday bash was, it was broadcasted live on air between 3-5pm, so those who were unable to make it or joined in the fun, were fortunate enough to tune in and imagine the goings-on at Kaw Kaw SG. To complete a celebratory occasion, RIA 89.7FM was also awarded the longest tuned station in Singapore in a recent survey by AC Neilsen. For the record, Kaw Kaw SG was the official event venue sponsor of the birthday bash. Other sponsors for the bash were One Drop Perfumes, Karva SG, Perfect Frames, Nongsa Resorts, Grey By Ortenhill, Heiraz Bakery & Academy, Lovera Singapore, Hello Adiva, Suka Sucre Bistro, Inglot Singapore, Alive Museum SG and “Sambal Belimbing” by Roslan Shah