Hafeez Glamour – Doktor Kereta Ambassador…

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I was kindly invited by bro Hafeez Glamour, my mentor back from my internship days with our local Malay radio stations, to cover this momentous event in his career – being appointed an ambassador for Doktor Kereta, a renowned local car dealing company, which is no stranger to the Malay community. This event was held on Saturday 12 March 2016 at the company’s new premises at Woodlands Horizon, where they recently shifted from their old place at Yio Chu Kang Road. Besides the appointment of bro Hafeez as ambassador, this event was also held to thank the customers of the company for their loyal patronage. I felt with the grand scale of the celebrations they had that day, it also felt like an event to celebrate the official opening of the new premises.

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The new premises of Doktor Kereta Pte. Ltd

There was a sizeable crowd that turned up, not only to watch the official announcement of bro Hafeez as the company’s ambassador, but also to meet and greet artistes like popular Malaysian actress, Yana Samsudin, our very own Aziz siblings – Aliff and Aisyah, Alias Kadir, as well as entertained by Kelly Azman and Luqman Damanuri, the latter two from Malaysia. Aisyah Aziz was on hand to pass free copies of her new single, “Titik Merah“, to the first one hundred visitors. The single which won the first prize in a local song composition contest held by Berita Harian and PERKAMUS, was composed by Sallys Music Production and written by Madam Amanah Mustafi from Mediacorp Eaglevision. It was released in conjunction with our recently-concluded SG50 celebrations.

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Yana Samsudin, whom I’ve taken a liking since I watched her in “Bini-Biniku Gangster” back in 2011, did not come empty-handed. Accompanied by her husband, Fadzil Zahari, she was also there to promote her new line of hijabwear called “Ayana“. It was hilarious seeing her and Kelly Azman playing games with some of the audience, getting them to wear her fashion line and making them do the catwalk with it. Aliff Aziz, who was accompanied by his fiancee, Bella Astillah and mother Madam Hafiza, entertained the crowd with his first ever hit, “Sayang-Sayang“. For a free event, the audience got their entertainment’s worth and got to meet popular names from both sides of the Causeway.

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Hafeez Glamour seen here with Ms. Aisyah Amirah and Mr. Haji Ismail Yusof, Assistant Director and Director of Doktor Kereta Pte. Ltd. right after his official announcement as Doktor Kereta Ambassador…

I understand that over the past month, there was some controversy pertaining to the local car dealing company. I don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment on the matter, as I am not involved directly at hand nor have read in detail what has transpired. However, the company has taken great pains to appoint a consultancy company, HalalHub Consultants Pte. Ltd. to help look into whatever grievances and shortcomings that might have occurred when dealing with their past customers. The consultancy company’s CEO, Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, lamented in his opening speech that he saw many complaints being made on Doktor Kereta‘s Facebook page but when they invited to meet those who had complained of poor service and claimed to have been “misled”, only a few have come forward so far. He, along with the car dealing company, hope that more will come forward, so that they can settle whatever misgivings, shortcomings and unhappiness amicably.

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Hafeez Glamour, posing in front of his newly-minted limousine with Mr. Sujimy Mohamad from Screenbox Pte. Ltd., Mr. Haji Ismail YusofMs. Aisyah Amirah, and Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, CEO of HalalHub Consultants Pte. Ltd

Bro Hafeez in his brief speech, expressed his gratitude at his appointment and hoped that it will bring back the confidence of the general public towards the company which has recently gone through a testing period in its existence. Passing useful advice to young artistes like Aisyah and Aliff Aziz in attendance, he said that such accolades are achievable through patience, hard work and to look beyond the hate that comes with the territory, to the point of forgiving, moreso in the unforgiving nature of the entertainment industry. As someone who is a veteran of the scene and has seen and experienced his fair share, those words certainly rang true. Congratulations to bro Hafeez Glamour on his recent appointment as ambassador of Doktor Kereta!!! Thank you once again for inviting me to cover the event as well as to the staff of Doktor Kereta for the kind hospitality… 🙂

Kasih Berbisik Media Conference

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

You would have seen the music video by Taufik Batisah singing his latest single “Menakluk Cinta” on Mediacorp Suria since it was first aired right after the recent National Day Parade. It is probably from that music video that you would have taken note of an upcoming drama series titled “Kasih Berbisik” (Whispers of the Heart), that will soon be aired on the said channel. This joint production by leading Free-to-Air TV channels Mediacorp Suria and TV3 will bring you a moving drama of heartache, hope and unbreakable bonds of love, spanning three countries. Conceived and written by prolific script writer, Mr. Hamed Ismail, and directed by Jamal Khan, this tear-jerker has finally come to fruition after three years in the works.

(YouTube clip courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Set against the backdrop of metropolitan Singapore, lush green fields of Malaysia and exotic Bali, the 13-episode drama series debuts for the first time simultaneously on TV3 and MediaCorp Suria on 1 October 2014 at 9pm and 9.30pm respectively. Its main and supporting cast members include Nurul Aini and Nick Mikhail from Singapore, Remy Ishak, Keith Foo and Tasha Shilla from Malaysia, as well as Demmy Febriana from Indonesia. Jointly produced by Mediacorp Eaglevision and Primeworks Studios, the collaboration is aimed at producing a high-quality drama series that appeal to audiences in Singapore and Malaysia, leveraging on both parties’ expertise in High-Definition (HD) TV production.

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The stage all set for the media conference…

I was extremely honoured to once again be invited by Mediacorp Suria to cover the media conference and exclusive screening held last Friday 19 September 2014 at Golden Village Grand Great World City. This was essentially my first time covering a media conference for an upcoming drama series and one which is monumental in that it is a joint-production between two countries featuring the scenic scenes, backdrop and actors from three countries. This was also probably the first time that I’ve been to a media conference where fans were allowed to soak in the atmosphere as well. At times, it felt a bit chaotic when the fans got excited seeing their favourite artistes, but generally they were well-behaved and I could see many smiling faces, contented with their respective signatures and photographs. The media conference was hosted by none other than Fauzie Laily.

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The main cast of “Kasih Berbisik” – (from left) Keith Foo, Remy Ishak, Nick Mikhail, Nurul Aini, Tasha Shilla and Demmy Febriana

I believe for the fans (a large majority were females, may I add) who paid to attend the media conference, it was rewarding enough to have been in close proximity to heart-throbs like Remy Ishak and Keith Foo. Even more rewarding when they witnessed Taufik Batisah himself making an appearance to sing the official soundtrack of the upcoming drama series live. Taufik it must be said, has matured so much since we were first introduced to his singing talents on national television exactly ten years ago. He was cracking jokes with the audience, sometimes even acting like a co-host and even took the time to promote his upcoming album launch this Sunday 28 September 2014, 6pm at Causeway Point. Ten years in the scene, he has blossomed and become more outgoing and even forthcoming in comparison to his earlier years in the scene.

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Taufik never fails to make the ladies swoon with his mere presence…

But where there was something good to say about Taufik Batisah, a not-so-pleasant vibe emanated when I was observing two of the main casts that night. I will not mention names but for those who were there, might probably agree with what I have to say. One was seen looking detached and uninterested with the whole proceedings, while another was seen fiddling and constantly checking on her handphone, even when she was up onstage facing the audience, not only made up of the fans, but fellow members of the media from Singapore and Malaysia, as well as the important heads from Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division and Media Prima Berhad. I am just glad that the likes of Taufik, Nurul Aini and Nick Mikhail showed class and accorded respect towards those who came to watch them.

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Important figures behind the joint TV production – (from left): Ms. Zakiah Halim (Senior Vice President of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division), Ms. Siti Nurlisia Mohd. Nadzri (TV3 General Manager), Mr. Suhaimi Jais (Senior Vice President of Mediacorp Studios and Mediacorp Eaglevision) and Mr. Azhar Borhan (Group General Manager Production and Operations of Primeworks Studios)…

Two back-to-back episodes of “Kasih Berbisik” were screened exclusively that night before its TV debut. Just to give you a gist, it is a 13-episode drama based on love, separation and friendship revolving around an architect, Imran (Remy Ishak), who goes on a business trip to Bali and falls in love with Sulastri (Demmy Febriana), a Balinese dancer. Eventually, Imran marries Sulastri and keeps his second marriage a secret from his wife of 6 years, Nora (Nurul Aini). Imran also has a best friend, Andi (Nick Mickhail) who admires Sulastri. In an unexpected twist, Sulastri’s ex-fiancé, Dharma (Keith Foo), vows to win her back. Dharma is clouded by anger and vengeance when he finds out that Sulastri is married to Imran. Will Nora and Dharma accept their fate as second best? How long can Imran keep his second marriage with Sulastri a secret from Nora?

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Tasha Shilla entertaining one of the fans, while Remy Ishak was busy signing autographs on the promotional posters…

From what I’ve seen that night, and from speaking to fellow attendees from the media, the general consensus I got and personally felt was, the episodes were kinda draggy. I dunno if it was because the screening started an hour later than scheduled, due to the casts’ meet-and-greet session with the fans and various interviews with the media brigade, and people (myself included) were feeling tired after a long day. The buildup to what’s to come in the show felt a bit slow and when the second marriage was announced in one of the scenes, it felt like the director was pushing for an impactful outcome out of the blue. But what do I know about watching such drama series??? Am never a big fan of long episodic dramas involving love and romance. I just don’t have the patience for it. For the record, let me state there’s nothing wrong with the acting from all the casts involved, just that the storyline I feel could have been developed better and to give a good introduction to each individual character.

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Nurul Aini, Keith Foo, Nick Mikhail and Demmy Febriana likewise were busy signing autographs on the promotional posters as well…

To be fair, two episodes might not tell a bigger picture nor relate the whole story, and that one should actually watch the series religiously to find out the twists and turns involving this complicated love saga. Fans of the two Malaysian heart-throbs would definitely not care at all about the storyline so long as they could feast their eyes on their idols weekly. My only concern was watching how the likes of Nurul Aini and Nick Mikhail performed when given their big break to go regional. Though I’ve heard rumours of how they were scolded by the lead actor for not giving their all, I thought both of them gave a good account of themselves and I really hope this will be their breakthrough drama and join the likes of those who have been success stories across the Causeway. No matter the artiste, I am always proud when I hear one of our own making a name for themselves abroad.

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Final group photo with the main casts, crew and television station heads…

As for Taufik Batisah, I hope as well that the soundtrack to this drama series, would go the same way as how “Seribu Tahun” had given Imran Ajmain so much success and newly-opened doors across the Causeway. For those not in the know or have forgotten, “Seribu Tahun” was the soundtrack to the drama series “Kerana Cintaku Saerah” on TV3 back in 2007. Ten years in the scene and still to be a household name regionally, I sincerely hope that “Menakluk Cinta” would go on to be an added success to the one that Taufik achieved through his duet with Rossa, “Aku Bersahaja“. “Menakluk Cinta” which was penned by Taufik himself, has every potential to be a haunting hit across our shores. It has been playing regularly in my head for the past few weeks or so leading up to the media conference and even moreso after I had watched the screening of the two back-to-back episodes. As mentioned earlier, “Kasih Berbisik” will air on TV3 and MediaCorp Suria on 1 October 2014 at 9pm and 9.30pm respectively.

Highlights of Kasih Berbisik Media Conference

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!!!

Anuar Zain Meet-&-Greet Fans Session…

Nothing substantial has appeared on this blog since a month ago. I feel kinda detached somewhat from the scene and from blogging that I worried a bit for this particularly entry. Simply because, it’s been awhile and I feel oh-so-rusty. Coupled with the fact that I’m on holiday mood, you can say that I feel a bit lazy to type out my thoughts as well, but then again this entry does not need much elaboration as I feel that for the ladies out there reading this, the photographs are more important and worth the view, not to mention lulling you to a dreamy gaze and sigh. Before I move on, let me once again thank sis Diah Mastura from Studiofrost Online (they sell chic and trendy outfits for ladies, in case you don’t already know by now), for giving me this opportunity to attend this event held at Lagun Sari Restaurant on 27 December 2011.

Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the contest that sis Diah did via Twitter, I would not have gotten wind of this private meet-and-greet fans session with the “King of Malay Ballads” himself. It was only much later that details of his scheduled public appearances were highlighted in Berita Harian and contests were being held on RIA 89.7FM to promote his recently-released album, the fourth in his solo career dating back to 1998. As I had given away my Pesta Raya 2011 tickets, where Anuar teamed up with his sister Ziana in a sold-out concert at Esplanade Theatre, I thought it was an opportunity to see him up close and personal once again, since I had also missed out on the high-tea session at Hyatt Hotel‘s Grand Ballroom back in 2009. Some fan I am, even this latest album, I have not even bought it. That shows how detached I am from the scene, especially the one across the Causeway. Maybe as I age, I am slowly letting go of some things that used to interest me in the past.

What was scheduled to start at 8pm ended up beginning close to 9pm, no thanks to the man’s busy schedule on these shores. When the missus and myself reached the event venue at about 7:45pm, we were surprised to see a long queue had already formed on the staircase leading up to the Java Room of Lagun Sari Restaurant. We were made to wait for more than half an hour and it was not quite a pleasant experience, with very little ventilation. I pitied some of the ladies who were dressed to the nines, some using whatever paraphernalia on their hands to fan themselves. I personally thought it would have been nice if someone had gone down to inform us why there was a delay in waiting. At least, it would more or less appease us. Waiting for a long time and having to perspire due to the limited ventilation is not a good combination. Thankfully nobody kicked up a fuss about it.

The session was hosted by RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and one of the radio station’s new kids-on-the-block, Dzar Ismail. Some of you might remember him from the Anugerah Skrin competition held last year. Known in our local Dikir Barat scene as a member of Durbar Dua and currently teaching full-time, Dzar has joined RIA 89.7FM as one of their part-time recruits. Personally I’m very happy that he has made this step up. I remember very well that during last year’s competition, I had said back then, with his fluency speaking in our mother tongue and his confidence during conversing, he would do well to expand his horizons and repertoire and seek a career in radio. Look where he is now. A humble, charming and friendly chap, he has also done his fair share of acting stint on television. He was also part of the Mediacorp Suria team that won this year’s Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament playing at rightback.

RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai and Dzar Ismail hosted the session…

The hosts did well to kill time by playing a game and letting the attendees of the session fill their stomachs, while awaiting for Anuar Zain‘s arrival. The game that was played, required one of the fans to come forward and sing a song by Anuar. I thought of joining in as well, since my wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days, and it would have been nice to sing to the wife the song I sang during our wedding dinner, “Keabadian Cinta“, albeit just the chorus. But then again, the session was about the fans and for the fans. Me seated at the table along with the invited media brigade, meant going forward did not seem right and would have appeared as though the hosts and I were in cahoots, so it was best that someone else more deserving came forward and the guy who came forward did not disappoint, as he sang “Sedetik Lebih” to his partner.

The man himself soon appeared. All the waiting, the beads of perspiration trickling down our backs and the grumbling stomachs prior to sitting down at the event venue were soon forgotten by the majority of those who attended. Singing a total of six songs in an otherwise pre-planned three initially, the man himself was in his class and element, moving from table to table to croon and leave the ladies in a state of daze and stupor. It was amusing to see the dreamy looks and puppy eyes of the ladies when Anuar was at their tables, charming them with his soulful voice, looking into everyone’s eyes and holding the hands of a few lucky ones. Photographs and video recordings from their smart phones and iPads were taken. I am sure the exclusive event lived up to their expectations, as the 80-odd fans literally had Anuar to themselves.

A fan sharing a voicenote with Anuar when he went to her table… 

The event went smoothly and there was no wild jostling to get his signature or photograph until sometime towards the end. My only grumble about the fans was that even though Anuar had visited every table and taken photographs with quite a number of them, towards the end when he called for those who had not taken a photograph with him to come forward, many of those who already did, joined in as well. I think a sense of consideration needed to be exercised. Yes I know what it means to be a die-hard fan of a particular artiste, I have been there and done that before, but it would be nice if they had allowed others to have that opportunity as well. It’s not that literally they can cut him up and bring a piece of him home. How many photographs do they need to take as mementos anyway??? From initially queueing up to take a photograph with him, I ended up going back to my seat and just observing the proceedings, consoling myself with the fact that I’ve taken a photograph with him before in the past.

This event, along with two other public appearances (at Singapore Expo and City Square Mall) that Anuar Zain did on 26 December 2011, was something rare and never done before by him. All the three events he appeared in were not paid events. Regular goers to his previous showcases and concerts would know that seeing him in action live meant we had to pay, and this unprecedented change was quite a welcome one for a change. Some quarters might feel that it could drop his commercial and exclusive values somewhat, but he was afterall on a promotional tour of his album. A slight change in approach did not hurt a bit and as the newspaper article revealed in Berita Harian yesterday, he actually helped to rake in $11,000 in proceeds in aid for charity at the event held at Singapore Expo. A showcase next month is currently in the works, hopefully details will be announced soon. The event the other night felt more like a teaser of what’s to come very soon…

Highlights of the Meet-&-Greet Session