APM2008 After Thoughts…

I made a grave mistake by not acknowledging my outfit sponsor in my Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 review. Many apologies and many thanks go out to Jatt’s Collezione for making me look good that night and in the words of Joe Lee a.k.a. Klubbkidd, I looked “spiffy” in the three-piece suit. Actually it’s just two-pieces but I added a third so that I would not perspire and spoil the inner piece. This is the second year in a row that Jatt’s Collezione had outfitted me. Made me looked kinda overdressed that night. Guess I got to find something a little toned down in future. Hah!!!

Anyway, I’ve just finished watching the repeat telecast of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 on Suria. Dunno why, but I just felt watching it live was much better than watching it on television. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for live events. It may also be because over the past week, I’ve been watching clips of the event from the comfort of YouTube (and I must say Taufik‘s “Sesuatu Janji” has been on repeat mode ever since. Just can’t get enough of his performance and slick dance steps). I could have avoided watching the event all over again, but for the fact that I wanted to see how the local awards presentation would be aired.

Like what happened during the delayed telecast of last year’s edition, the editing left much to be desired. Where during the show itself we had a proper introduction of the award presenters (the radio deejays), somehow in certain instances that you saw on television, the presenters just appeared out of nowhere and ready to speak. One glaring instance was the one where Ashraf Sinclair and Fiza Osman came on stage to present the popular awards for the local artistes.  The clip just appeared with no introduction to the presenters as well as the “guest-of-honour” who was in charge of handing the trophies to the respective recipient, Mr. Hassan Salleh, programme director of RIA 89.7FM.

Not only that, when footage was shown of the local awards presentation that were given away during the commercial breaks, we could see the mad rush of people who were trying to get across to either ends of the arena for that quick toilet break / smoke / back to their seats. It certainly did not reflect well on the show as a whole. Somehow I wonder who is in-charge of editing all the footages??? Astro or Suria??? Watching those footages and how technically inept they were, made me feel embarrassed to say how good the whole event was, as highlighted in my last entry. These kind of editing smacks of unprofessionalism. It’s what we Malays like to call “Tangkap Muat“.

Granted, whereby the background music for the winners of the popular local awards was rectified, when during the event itself, the sound people botched it up by playing a different artiste’s song, the rest did not mask any shortcomings the event might have with regards to the local awards presentation. You have to remember Suria can also be watched by those in Johor and Batam. They too are able to tune into our local radio stations daily. Since they do not have the benefit of watching outdoor shows organised by our radio stations unless they come down to Singapore, a proper introduction of the deejays-cum-presenters would have been good to these people so that they could put the faces to the voices that they hear. Heck even some of our local listeners dunno the faces behind these voices.

Which is why I feel that in future events, Suria under the Mediacorp banner, SHOULD tie up with their sister stations from the radio wing, win the televised rights and set the rules that the local awards should be mentioned in the same breath as the regional ones. Only then will we get seamless transition between one performance to the other, one award presentation to the other and so on and so forth, without any glitches or boo-boos for everyone to note / see. You and I can only hope…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Review…

I might have haggled and procrastinated whether to go up to Kuala Lumpur to attend this event in the weeks leading up to it. Coupled with the fact that the wife has just given birth to our second daughter only made it a little worse. But the wife gave her full blessings, so I went and here I am back and fresh with a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 (APM2008). Apologies once again for the delay in posting this, as I had wanted to read the reactions from the foreign media and trawl online forums to get a feel of what others were saying about this event before I say my piece.

Even though I had won two tickets from the radio phone-in contest organised by RIA 89.7FM, I gave both away eventually when KRU Singapore (Jihan & Janna) offered to have me seated amongst the bevy of artistes in attendance together with them. In a way, I was a KRU Music Group staff for the day. I mean, who would be dumb enough not to be seated near the industry bigwigs when you are presented with the golden opportunity right??? Or so I thought (more of that later). Besides the usual aspects of the show that I tend to look into, this time I will tell it as it is from the perspective of a fan, the artistes, the Internet forums and from the media.

We (me, Janna and her two cousins, Jihan was already with the other artistes under KRU‘s stable) left the official hotel (Impiana-KLCC) of APM2008 where we were putting up, for the event venue (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre) slightly after Maghrib. When we were leaving, we managed to catch some of the artistes hanging around at the lobby waiting for their queue to board the bus that would be bringing them over to the event venue. The venue is actually just a 2-3 minutes walk away from the hotel but because they were dressed to the nines, it won’t look appropriate for them to be seen walking all the way from the hotel and perspiring when they reached the place. When we reached the supposed entrance to the event, we were greeted with scenes of chaos with fans and media jostling to take pictures with the artistes in attendance. At various points, the fans were being interviewed by the news teams from the various television channels. Apparently, there was no red carpet event yet again. Which brings me to my first aspect.

Malaysia‘s Most Beautiful Mermaid – Maya Karin

Red Carpet Event – As I had mentioned before in previous APM reviews, one of the most essential aspects towards having a successful awards show is by having the Red Carpet event. It adds substance to the whole affair with all the artistes on parade and posing for the flashlights aimed at them. I dunno if this move was simply deliberate or it just did not cross the minds of the organisers that having one would add a touch of glamour to it. As a result, when you have the artistes and the fans walking along the same path, you end up creating a traffic jam with the fans clamouring to take photographs with the artistes and thus making it difficult for the artistes to negotiate their way into the arena. Entertainment reporters were seen frustrated and heard grumbling loudly at what was unfolding before them. This was certainly not the perfect start that the organisers were looking for to promote this event away from Singapore and expect to get warm reviews from the same people who have been slating them year in and out.

Location & Seating Arrangement – The past seven APMs had given the audience more room to move and feel nearer to the artistes seated in front, not to mention the stage. In short, previous locations like the now-defunct Harbour Pavilion, Singapore Expo, Max Pavilion, Bukit Jalil Indoor Stadium and the Singapore Indoor Stadium were wide enough for the rest of the audience to sit surrounding the sectors meant for the industry bigwigs. The layout of Halls 1 & 2 of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre did not allow this trend to continue. Instead, the seating plan was only as wide as the stage itself and in turn stretched all the way to the back about 150 metres away. Worse, the traveling Singapore fans were made to sit at the back tiers. Most were heard grumbling away at how far they were from the stage and having to rely on the giant screens at the back. We also ended up sitting with the Singapore fans, instead of behind the artistes as I had mentioned earlier, as there was a misunderstanding with regards to the ticketing. I wasn’t hard up about not sitting there but I do question the wisdom in releasing VIP tickets for the Malaysian audience via Radio ERA and Astro Ria and the Singapore fans being made to look like second class citizens by sitting all the way to the back. For the record, the arena was only 2/3 full with pockets of seats seen empty in all sectors, even the artistes’ area in the front tiers. Another downside was the extremely cold air-conditioning. I was wearing three layers of clothing but the freezing temperature shot through my skin and it was a wonder I did not get up to go to the toilet during the commercial breaks.

Local Awards Snubbed Again??? – At 8:45pm, popular Malaysian actor, Ashraf Sinclair (a.k.a. Mr. Bunga Citra Lestari), and Fiza Osman from RIA 89.7FM came on stage to host the presentation for the Anugerah Artis Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Artiste) and Lagu Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Song) awards. For the second year running and the third in total since its inception, our local awards were not shown live and were given away either before the show or during the commercial breaks. Last year, I was one of the vocal ones in voicing my displeasure at the apparent snub and unfair treatment given to our local artistes. Back then, the reason for the apparent snub was it had no bearing with the the regional audience who already have their own music awards in Anugerah Musik Indonesia and Anugerah Industri Muzik. As such, it was only fair to televise them to local audience when Suria aired them on a later date. The downside about giving out these awards during the commercial breaks was they had to rush through everything and kept things short. It was really comical seeing them going through the motions quickly, which in turn made me wonder why in the world did they torture themselves when they could have just include these awards presentation into the main event itself??? But to this day I still believe that Sleeq and Imran Ajmain‘s performances at last year’s pre-event show half an hour before the main event started, should have been shown to the regional audience so that they know who these boys are.

Lah, former member of V.E

I’ve heard about a month before the event from credible sources within the industry that the same thing was going to occur again. Rather than seethe again, I tried to see the rationale behind it. Anugerah Planet Muzik was created to recognise music talents from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, basically the cream of the crop from all three countries and not just for Singapore alone. Why the separate awards show for the local acts (prior to the event proper and during commercial breaks) could possibly be down to one thing, and this is based on my own observations – Astro held the rights to televise what they deemed was appropriate for the event and what the aim of APM is for, which is the region and not solely for our local artistes. Cos from what I had observed all these years, all these apparent “snubs” have happened when Astro had the televised rights to the event and that includes when the event was done at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last year. It beggars belief as to why Suria being under the wings of Mediacorp did not try hard enough and take a pro-active stance in tying up the television rights with their sister stations from the radio wing. Had they taken it up, I believe as in years past when they had the rights, the local awards could be seen by the regional audience and make known to them of our artistes’ existence and the songs that were recognised as the best within our local ranks. Our local industry is still relatively small and a lot of people from Malaysia and Indonesia dunno who our artistes are. Those extra minutes of awards presentation which was not televised to the regional audience would allow them to look our local artistes up on the Net or even YouTube if they are inquisitive to know about them, such is the power of technology these days.

It has to be said that for all the flaks and flaws that some of us might aim at Mediacorp Radio (Warna & RIA) on this, they should be lauded for taking the steps towards honouring the local acts, even if deep down some or most of us still hold our gripes as to why our local acts were not given a fair treatment on the regional stage and made to look like second-class citizens, this being an event organised by a Singapore company. I’ve looked and analysed the whole situation for quite some time now and the organisers cannot be held responsible fully for this, as the aim of APM has always been to uphold the region’s best, with the local awards being a pleasant distraction and since no one else is doing them on a big scale domestically. I have finally come to terms with this fact. My only hope now is that someone takes up the mantle and do up one awards show solely for our local acts so that we not only have Anugerah Planet Muzik to look forward to annually, but also our very own music awards show. It’s ok to start small, be it done at Mediacorp’s TV Theatre or even the humble D’Marquee arena, with awareness and good promotion, all local acts will feel that their blood, sweat and tears will be amply rewarded. “Pesta Pesta Pesta“, “Pesta Perdana” and even the Sensasi channel’s event last year “Anugerah Life 07: Malam Bintang Sensasi” are fine examples that these kind of award shows could still bring in the local crowds. I’m sure there is as much interest if we have our own music awards bearing in mind we now have the “Fiknatics“, the “Happy Hadys“, the “Aliff Angels“, the “Imtiazs“, the “Hyrulites” etc to create a din and lively atmostphere. We also do not have a dearth in talent as the number of local album nominations submitted to the APM committee have shown. It’s just a matter of being open and receptive to their existence and giving them the proper stage to shine. Only then will the majority of our local consumers open up to them and not just idolise those from across the Causeway or from Indonesia.

Security – Security was tight throughout the night. They definitely took great pains to prevent the audience from recording the proceedings from their respective handphones or digital cameras. I tried my luck and I was told off by one of the ushers. Not that it mattered much to me, cos I was sitting so far behind that personally I felt that there was no point in me taking them in the first place. But the only thing I was pissed off with them was their reluctance in letting in the artistes who came from the same way as us just before the event started. As a result and as I had mentioned above, this created some kind of pandemonium with fans clamouring to take photographs with the artistes and the media having difficulties in doing their job. Oh and not to mention the fact that they did not flank the artistes to prevent the fans from continuously taking photographs with them. And because the security was too good at what they were doing, even the media got locked out and refused entry, creating unhappy scenes.

Last year’s recipient of Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik award, Noryn Aziz… Gorgeous!!!

Stage Props and Layout – For such a small arena (if you were to look at it from both ends of the stage), the stage layout and design was probably the best I’ve seen all these years. The giant screen at the back of the stage was probably the highlight of it, adding vibrant colours to all the performances on stage. The musicians, sessionists and back-up singers were also cleverly hidden to the right of the stage, giving the artistes unadulterated attention when they came on to perform their pieces. This is definitely a great improvement from last year’s affair, which the foreign press gleefully and unanimously labeled it “poor in creativity“. I liked it very much, it’s very fresh from my point of view.

Host/s – Putting the livewire Sarah Sechan alone was a big gamble, which I believed paid off handsomely. I read in reports from the foreign media that the decision to have her present it alone was one that the organisers had deliberately thought of, to add a difference to a show which is known for the huge number of presenters on show from the three countries. And yes I agreed that it was a bold move that the audience were happy with. Sarah‘s witty punchlines had us all in stitches and it was very fresh to see her in her element without the need to compete with other presenters as was seen from past events. I’ve always liked Sarah as the host with the touch of elegance and dry wit, without the need to go overboard with her jokes. The choice to have her hosting the show was spot-on and I believe for future events, let’s just stick to having one, just like the annual Academy, Emmy and Grammy award shows.

The same could not be said though when first Adi Fashla and Nana from Radio ERA and then TG, Adi Rahman (both Warna 94.2FM) and Fiza Osman (RIA) came on stage to introduce the next performances involving Ferhad, Farah Asyikin & Mila and presenting the Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste) award respectively. Even though the jokes and banter were kinda alright to me, it did not quite catch on with the audience watching, with snippets of M. Nasir and his wife Marlia Musa giving blank looks and raised eyebrows trying to figure out what was funny. Adi Fashla and Nana got an even worse treatment with certain sections of the crowd booing them on stage. I dunno if it’s a fact that they were promoting their radio station live on national television (which I heard is slowly losing ground to Hot FM) or just that they sounded screechy and irritating.

Cat Farish + Dewi + Adeep + DJ Sumo = The Fabulous Catz…

Sound System & Technical Glitches – Save for that minor technical glitch when Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza came on stage to honour Search with “Fantasia Bulan Madu“, I thought in general, the sound system was good and crystal clear to the point that I could even hear Aliff Aziz‘s famed breathing when he sang “Sayang-Sayang“. Yes peeps this was a far cry from the one used at Max Pavilion in 2006 and I dare say, this was one of the major factors that made me enjoy most, if not all of the performances on show. However, bearing in mind that we the Singaporean fans were seated right at the back and had to rely on the two giant screens hanging on both sides of the central area of the arena, the screens did not do the show justice by frequently losing footage and making us all squint at the performances / awards presentation on stage. A lot of those in the audience were heard screaming away at the technical people stationed in the middle of the arena to rectify the problem. That’s not all, the sound guys also fumbled and bungled when the popular local awards were given prior to the show. How in the world could they mix up the songs of the artistes who were called on stage to accept their awards??? Even though it was not televised live and hoping that Suria could rectify the mistakes for them before showing it to our local audience, it was not a good promo to all the other non-Singaporean fans / artistes / industry bigwigs in attendance. In short, it was bloody misleading!!!

Award Presenters – This year saw a refreshing change in the number of award presenters on stage as well as eliminating the possibility of recycling performers to be presenters for the night, where the regional awards were concerned. Previously we would have at least two presenters giving out the awards but this year there was only one to avoid unnecessary banter and lame jokes being exchanged. Most of the presenters I recalled were females (Maya Karin, Noryn Aziz, Nasha Aziz, Jennifer Thompson, Deborah Henry, Zakiah Halim, Erra Fazira), save for Zainal Abidin during the presentation for Anugerah Cinta Planet Muzik (Love for Music Planet Award). Girl power seemed to be the order of the day and some had varied agendas to put across to the watching audience like Noryn Aziz promoting her upcoming show on June 1st at Planet Hollywood and Maya Karin reminding us the virtues of saving our planet in conjunction with Earth Day this past Tuesday 22nd April 2008. As for the local awards, DJs from Warna & RIA were given the honour to pair up and present the awards to the respective recipients. I must say all of them looked slick and gorgeous in their outfits.

Performances – Save for the finale and Kris Dayanti‘s performance, I thought that this year’s line-up of performances kicked ass right from the start with Meet Uncle Hussein and Ahli Fiqir kicking things off with “La-La-La-Kerjalah” and “Selamat Datang Ke Industri Muzik / 2 X 5“. After Sarah Sechan did the customary welcome, Ihsan, Faizal Tahir and Bunga Citra Lestari ensued with “Bunga (Karena Aku Lelaki)”, “Maha Karya Cinta” and “Ingkar” respectively before Faizal came back on stage to sing “Aku & Dirimu” with Bunga. Kris Dayanti ended off the first half hour segment by singing “Semua Jadi Satu“. While the songs sung were varied and relatively enjoyable in this first half hour, I just felt that Kris came up short and lacked that wee bit of punch we’ve come to know of her performances. Maybe it could be the fact that the song that she sang was meant to be sung along with two of her fellow Indonesian divas Ruth Sahanaya and Titi DJ. I’ve seen singers struggling to sing songs that were sung as a group and even though Kris did well enough, the oomph factor was lacking. Seeing Bunga and Faizal singing twice made me fear that the recycled performers syndrome would be back but on hindsight, it was fair to give Faizal the chance to shine after being away for three months. He did not disappoint of course, his vocals simply mesmerising and his showmanship was not compromised, even though it had a slight tweak with him making fun of his striptease fiasco towards the end of the song. The amazing thing was he sang it with a straight face and the audience lapped it up by applauding, whooping and laughing along. Personally I felt that having performances for the first half hour was a bit of a bore, especially when you had Kris‘ anti-climax performance. Many were seen fidgeting and wondering when will the first real award be given out.

Ashraf Sinclair & Fiza Osman presenting Artis Singapura Paling Popular ( & Lagu Singapura Paling Popular awards…

The third round of performances featured Aliff Aziz with “Sayang-Sayang“, Elyana with “Kalis Rindu” and Matta singing their massive hit “Ketahuan“. I think Aliff did a sterling job without too many frills and it was a good introduction for him to the watching regional audience. From where I sat and with the giant screens “on strike”, I could not see that Elyana was singing barefooted till much later. Some people have been known to criticise her for that but I just feel that people should get off her back and concentrate on her vocals instead, which I have to note, has improved by leaps and bounds. A pity her item had no back up dancers which would have added more spice to her song. Matta‘s appearance had the Singapore fans whooping in delight and singing along to the lyrics of “Ketahuan“. Surprising Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza and Anuar Zain by putting the mic in front of their faces was also a sight to behold, with Datin Sri‘s reaction an unforgettable one singing with eyes wide opened. It is to their credit that they came off sporting and knowing the lyrics to the song.

I had slight reservations when I first heard Sofaz was due to perform at APM2008, bearing in mind that they did not give a good account of themselves at the recent Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) Finals. Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer Sofaz over New Boyz anytime. Sofaz singing “Bukan Di Sini” I felt was better than “Janjiku” which they performed at the AJL Finals. I was just afraid that they would be overawed by the occasion since this awards show is supposedly bigger than AJL. But the boys proved me wrong and I remembered tapping my feet to this song and singing along to it. Dunno if those sitting around me enjoyed my own rendition or not. Heh.

The next set had Ferhad singing “Satu“, Farah Asyikin with “Seribu Penipuan” and Mila, the first female winner of Malaysia‘s hit reality show Akademi Fantasia with “Mila Bila Cinta“. Ferhad it has to be said, is one amazing performer, if only most Singaporeans know how to appreciate his style and his brand of music. His albums are worth buying and it is just sad to see that a lot of people get turned off by his showmanship and hating the fact that he seemed to forget his roots in Singapore, which is most definitely not the case. I know for the fact that he is a proud Singaporean at heart. Farah Asyikin proved that her title as Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik (Best New Female Artiste Award) was no flash in the pan with her spunky performance. Her features remind me of Pink and there are some similarities in their way of dressing and showmanship. Just love her vocal execution. Mila??? She’s a bit bubble-gummy for my liking but nonetheless her performance gave the atmosphere a feel-good factor. Am just surprised till now at how petite she is when I met her at the post-event reception. She could easily pass off as a primary school-going girl.

The show began with Meet Uncle Hussein singing “La-La-La-Kerjalah“…

When the two demi-gods from Malaysia (Anuar Zain) and Singapore (Taufik Batisah) appeared next, it was almost hysteria observing the audience from where I sat. It was refreshing from Anuar as personally I was getting sick of hearing him perform either “Lelaki Ini” or “Ketulusan Hati” at big shows like these. I wonder how much they had spent to have the models with him. I believe “Bidadari” is the next single from his latest album that is being introduced on the airwaves. I had expected Taufik to sing “Sesuatu Janji” at last year’s APM but he ended up singing “Usah Lepaskan” instead. But at least the 10 months wait was well worth it and he did not disappoint one bit. In fact I believe, after four years performing at APM, the regional and local audience finally saw the true Taufik Batisah, with his slick dance moves and adding a back flip as the icing on the cake, even though it came across as a little botched. But it took extremely great effort and a sense of wanting to add a different dimension to his repertoire that deserves a mention. And I for one was blown away by his performance that night. The best part was, even when he danced and jumped around, his vocals did not break nor did he come across as panting.

Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza was the next in line to perform, paying a tribute to Malaysian rock group Search for their massive contribution to the music industry for the past 25 years. Surprisingly, she was a late addition to the line-up of performers and was not mentioned prior to the event. Her performance gave me goosebumps and if not for the technical error from using her own microphone as well as forgetting the lyrics to the song (which resulted in Amy Search‘s fuming facial expression when the cameras panned on him), it would have easily been the best performance of the night. But I think all was forgiven when many gave her a standing ovation, me included, after she sang the song.

Once the special awards were given out, it was a matter of honouring the six nominees for the coveted title of Anugerah Lagu Terbaik (Best Song Award). Our first Asian Idol, Hady Mirza, Dayang Nurfaizah and Indonesian Idol Season 2 runner-up Judika Sihotang were tasked to perform the six songs and boy, was this another segment that had them eating out of the audience’s hands. Dayang especially caught my eyes and ears by singing “Menanti Pasti” and “Dewi” in her own style and with a slightly different musical arrangement, without compromising the essence to the two songs. The combination of Hady and Judika singing one of my current favourites “11 Januari” was another sight to behold. But of course, the best song from this set was reserved for the last when all three came on stage to sing “Nakal“. It was so good that even Armand Maulana, the lead singer of Gigi and original singer of the song gave his thumbs up when he went on stage to collect his award.

View from where we sat…

The finale saw Ajai and Mawi closing proceedings with a tribute to the late Allahyarham Rosli Khamis a.k.a. Loloq, recipient of the Anugerah Khas Anugerah Planet Muzik 2006. The song they sung, “Cinta Itu Syurga” was one of the last few compositions by the late lyricist, which has not been recorded nor being played by any other radio stations. It would have been apt had his good friend M. Nasir sung it along with Mawi, cos the combination of a nasal singer and one with a deep voice just did not go down well with me. Maybe also, since it was the first time it was being performed, it needed a bit of time to catch on. But it was a perfect end to the show when Ajai called on fellow Muslims in the audience to recite Surah Al-Fatihah for the late Loloq‘s departed soul. I believe that particular part was not shown on television.

Post- Event Reception – Once the show ended, we made our way to the front where Jihan was waiting for us, but not before I stopped a few times along the way to greet a few friends seated near me. Being KRU Music Group “staff” for the day, we were whisked to the back where the post-event reception was being held. It’s been quite sometime since I last attended a post-event reception and it was fun just mingling around and chatting with the artistes. The only downside was I was not able to locate Datin Sri herself and I totally forgot to take photographs with Kris Dayanti, Sarah Sechan, Anuar Zain, Farhan, Search and KRU, though I did manage to take one with Edry who was happily sitting by the corner while his two brothers were being interviewed by the media. This event also brought me closer to our local artistes and I was able to get to know them better, with Aliff thanking me profusely for my endless defending of him, be it with my comments on radio or in my blog. And for those of you who think I am anti-Hady or anti-Taufik, I hope that the photographs will paint a better picture cos I would not take if I really hate them. And it was good to know that Hady and I share the same passion for Manchester United and we definitely shook hands to that.

The post-event reception also helped to extend my blog networking when I finally get to meet three of Malaysia‘s famous entertainment bloggers Joe Lee a.k.a. Klubbkidd, Budiey and Badrul. They are humble yet comical in their own way. I felt at ease when I spoke to Joe as he shared his thoughts on APM and what his upcoming projects were all about. He makes you feel as though you’re talking to an old friend, such is his warmth, which is quite different when you read the angst he types in his blog. I didn’t get to talk much to Badrul as he was busy bringing Diddy around and I wouldn’t have recognised him had Joe not introduced me to him when we were chatting. The good part about the post-event reception was the fact that I was able to interview several artistes, notably our local acts and their thoughts on the show. Wished that the night would never end, but it had to. The funny thing was I did not even eat any of the food at the reception and just drank the juice that the waiters were giving out, even though I was feeling extremely famished. The food was not bad though. There was spaghetti and what-have-yous. Couldn’t quite recall as I wasn’t interested in eating in the first place but I thought the spread was decent enough.

Ahli Fiqir with “2 X 5“…

We left the place close to 1am and walked back to the hotel whereby there were so many fans awaiting for the arrival of the artistes back from the reception. While Jihan, Janna and their two cousins went up to change, I stayed behind at the lobby to chat with some of my listener friends who were there. You could imagine the hysteria when Taufik, Hady and Aliff appeared at the same time. It was a good thing I had already taken a photo with them at the reception, so it was fair enough that the rest had their fair share as well. Just before Aliff left, we had another photo-taking session together for memories’ sake with him again thanking me for my support and hope I would continue doing so. He didn’t need to ask actually cos all local artistes deserve my support, so long as they remain humble and steer clear from unnecessary controversies. That has always been my stand when I support any artiste, be it here, in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Predictions Revisited – If you think my review is about to end, I apologise cos I’m only halfway there. Next I would like to revisit the predictions I made prior to the event and see how I fared, which I believe was no better than the one I did last year, but what the heck??? It was all for fun anyway.

Artis Lelaki Baru Terbaik (Best New Male Artiste):

  • Aliff Aziz – Aliff
  • Diddy – Diddy
  • Faizal Tahir – Aku.Muzik.Kamu
  • Ihsan – The Winner
  • Syed Azmir – Prosa X

Prediction: Faizal Tahir

Winner: Faizal Tahir

I got this one spot on for what I predicted during the predictions entry and for the fact that his album also got him nominated in the Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste) category. What a comeback and what audacity to poke fun at his own self when he sang “Maha Karya Cinta“. The challenge for him now is to remain in his element, without going overboard. The upcoming Anugerah Industri Muzik event would be very interesting with his closest challenger Anuar Zain out of the picture.

Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik (Best New Female Artiste):

  • Farah Asyikin – Farah Asyikin
  • Gita Gutawa – Gita Gutawa
  • Mila – Persis Mutiara
  • Rini Wulandari – Aku Tetap Milikmu
  • Ussy Sulistiawati – It’s Me

Prediction: Gita Gutawa

Winner: Farah Asyikin

I had mentioned about not discounting the rest in the category when I made the prediction and true to my word, Farah Asyikin came out tops and it is easy to see why she’s won over the jury. While the rest in her category were championing Pop R&B and Bubblegum Pop, her rockish image is a breath of fresh air and it showed in her performance that night. Funny how come her own country did not see the virtue to nominate her at the upcoming Anugerah Industri Muzik awards when the regional jury have just given her the thumbs up.

Two eligible bachelors from SingaporeSyed Azmir & Hady Mirza

Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik (Best New Duo / Group):

  • D’Cinnamons – Good Morning
  • Matta – Matta
  • Meet Uncle Hussein – 7 Tahun, 3 Bulan 90 Hari
  • Ran – Ran For Your Life
  • She – Slow Down Baby
  • The Titans – The Titans

Prediction: The Titans

Winner: Meet Uncle Hussein

This was a big win for indie bands who are currently the rage across the Causeway. It seems that the influx of indie bands in the market is signalling a new wave. Groups like Meet Uncle Hussein, Estranged and Hujan are slowly working up a storm and the jury were quick to recognise this new influence in the industry.

Lagu Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Song):

  • Ayu – Cradle
  • Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  • 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  • Ku Sendiri – Aliff Aziz
  • Lagu Tidurku – Syed Azmir

Prediction: Berserah – Taufik Batisah

Winner: Ayu – Cradle

I forgot that the popular does not necessarily be the best and I underestimated Cradle‘s potential in this. A deserved win nonetheless.

Album Terbaik Singapura (Best Singapore Album):

  • Aliff – Aliff Aziz
  • Ceritera Awan – Cradle
  • Prosa X – Syed Azmir
  • Rap Untuk Rakyat – AhliFiqir
  • Teman Istimewa – Taufik Batisah

Prediction: Aliff – Aliff Aziz / Rap Untuk Rakyat – AhliFiqir

Winner: Ceritera Awan – Cradle

In my predictions, I ended off saying I had a sneaky feeling that Cradle would win this and true to my gut feelings, they truly did. The engineering and meticulous work put into producing this album was just rewards for Addy, Man Toyak and the gang. A pity the rest of the group had prior commitments which resulted in them not being able to show their mantle on the big stage last Sunday when in fact they were invited to perform in the first place.

Artis Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Artiste):

  • Syed Azmir – Prosa X
  • Aliff Aziz – Aliff
  • Taufik Batisah – Teman Istimewa
  • AhliFiqir – Rap Untuk Rakyat
  • Cradle – Ceritera Awan

Prediction: Aliff Aziz – Aziz

Winner: Taufik Batisah

This was a nice change for once cos Taufik needed that big step towards breaking into the foreign market. By showing that he is more than just a popular singer on his home ground, this win could finally signal a change in fortune for him as the regional bigwigs would see him as someone who is more credible and one that oozes quality. Not that he had none in the first place.

Malaysia‘s “Beyonce Knowles”Dayang Nurfaizah

Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste):

  • Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
  • Faizal Tahir – Aku.Muzik.Kamu
  • Glenn Fredly – Happy Sunday
  • Iwan Fals – 50:50
  • Taufik Batisah – Teman Istimewa

Prediction: Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain

Winner: Anuar Zain

What more can I say about him??? Simply amazing!!!

Artis Wanita Terbaik (Best Female Artiste):

  • Bunga Citra Lestari – Cinta Pertama
  • Dayang Nurfaizah – Dayang 2007
  • Elyana – Jadi Diriku
  • Kris Dayanti – Kris Dayanti
  • Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza – Hadiah Daripada Hati

Prediction: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza – Hadiah Daripada Hati

Winner: Kris Dayanti

Truth be told, when you have two of the biggest divas in the region up in the same category, it was always going to be a toss-up between either one, with all due respect to the other three nominated. And Kris brought home the big one much to the disappointment of the watching home fans.

Artis Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group):

  • Gigi – Peace, Love & Respect
  • Kerispatih – Kenyataan Perasaan
  • Padi – Tak Hanya Diam
  • Samsons – Penantian Hidup
  • Spider – Bintang 12
  • Ungu – Untukmu Selamanya

Prediction: Gigi – Peace, Love & Respect / Spider – Bintang 12

Winner: Gigi

I got this one right for the fact that their latest offering was the best that they’ve produced thus far.

Lagu Terbaik (Best Song):

  • Dewi – Dewa19
  • Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
  • Menanti Pasti – Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza
  • Mengenangmu – Kerispatih
  • Nakal – Gigi
  • 11 Januari – Gigi

Prediction: 11 Januari – Gigi

Winner: Nakal – Gigi

I got this half right. The choice for best song was another refreshing change, running away from the usual sappy ballads that always hog the nominations. This song’s experimental fusion of rock and dangdut could have backfired if the purists had their way, but it proved to be the major factor for the jury to pick it for its uniqueness.

Farah Asyikin elated with her win…

Album Terbaik (Best Album):

  • Aku, Muzik, Kamu – Faizal Tahir
  • Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
  • Kenyataan Perasaan – Kerispatih
  • Peace, Love & Respect – Gigi
  • Tak Hanya Diam – Padi

Prediction: Tak Hanya Diam – Padi

Winner: Peace, Love & Respect – Gigi

I wanted to go for this initially but went against it, when I had in mind Padi‘s experience in nailing this award in the past. A hat-trick of awards at Anugerah Musik Indonesia 2008 and another hat-trick at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008. It certainly has been a good week for Armand and the gang in Gigi.

Artis Lelaki Paling Popular (Most Popular Male Artiste):

  1. Adam
  2. Aliff Aziz
  3. Anuar Zain
  4. Ari Lasso
  5. Faizal Tahir
  6. Hady Mirza
  7. Imran Ajmain
  8. Irwansyah
  9. Kaer
  10. Mawi
  11. Once (Dewa 19)
  12. Taufik Batisah

Prediction: Taufik Batisah / Mawi / Anuar Zain

Winner: Faizal Tahir

Honestly I did not see this coming and I don’t think many did. Even the winner himself was reported to have mumbled Mawi‘s name before his name was announced. But it was just rewards for his patience and it shows that his popularity did not wane during his absence from the scene.

Artis Wanita Paling Popular (Most Popular Female Artiste):

  1. Acha Septriasa
  2. Agnes Monica
  3. Bunga Citra Lestari
  4. Ella
  5. Elyana
  6. Jaclyn Victor
  7. Kris Dayanti
  8. Melly Goeslaw
  9. Mila
  10. Mulan Jameela
  11. Rossa
  12. Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

Prediction: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

Winner: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

Need I say more??? Enough said huh???

Duo / Kumpulan Paling Popular (Most Popular Duo / Group):

  1. Ahli Fiqir
  2. Cradle
  3. Dewa 19
  4. Estranged
  5. Jinbara
  6. Matta
  7. Nidji
  8. Peterpan
  9. Sofaz
  10. The Lima
  11. Ungu
  12. Vagetoz

Prediction: Dewa 19 / Matta / Nidji/ Peterpan / Ungu

Winner: Estranged

Another one I did not see coming. Just goes to show that Malaysians are very pro-active when it comes to voting and the Indonesians know nothing about it, as seen from their grouses over the Internet forums.

Maiya Rahman looking splendid that night…

Lagu Paling Popular (Most Popular Song):

  1. Atas Nama Cinta – Rossa
  2. Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  3. 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  4. Itu Kamu – Estranged
  5. Izinku Pergi – Kaer
  6. Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
  7. Ketahuan – Matta
  8. Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain
  9. Menghapus Jejakmu – PeterPan
  10. Nakal – Gigi
  11. Perlu Kamu – Ajai & Kris Dayanti
  12. Sembunyi – Misha & Andy (Flop Poppy)

Prediction: Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu

Winner: Itu Kamu – Estranged

I did say that if “Kekasih Gelapku” did not win, expect Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Itu Kamu – Estranged, Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain and Ketahuan – Matta to take the mantle instead as it was too open to call and partly I’m right in this. Such is the power of this song that it has propelled the group to multiple awards with it being the only Malay single in their album. Maybe the group would like to produce more Malay songs in future???

Artis Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Artiste):

  1. Aliff Aziz
  2. Elfee R. Ismail
  3. Hady Mirza
  4. Sleeq
  5. Taufik Batisah

Prediction: Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Aliff Aziz

Winner: Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Sleeq

The same winners from last year’s event repeated itself yet again. Yes, I underestimated Sleeq‘s influence amongst their voters but I guess wishing them luck when I met them at the lobby on the way to the event venue had some bearing after all.

Lagu Singapura Popular (Most Popular Singapore Song):

  1. Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  2. Kasih Mengapa – Rauzan Feat. Rozie & Urban Sensation
  3. Krakatau – Spellbound
  4. Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz
  5. Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli

Prediction: Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz & Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli

Winner: Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz & Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli

As I had mentioned before, this was a no-brainer category when you look at the remaining five nominations. The voters for these three artistes are certainly strong in every aspect and it would take a brave man to bet against them.

Anugerah Khas Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 / Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Special Achievement Award

Recipient: Search

I’ve got to admit I made a major boo-boo with this when I hyped up who was supposed to receive this award during my predictions. Even though I was right for the fact that they became the first group in the history of Anugerah Planet Muzik to receive this award, I had their profiles all wrong thanks to a miscommunication. The information I received earlier was KRU was supposed to receive a “special award” but it did not specify which one and since “special award” literally translated to “Anugerah Khas“, you can understand how excited I was when I got to know that my all-time favourite group was due for such an award. Still I believe Search was a better candidate as they have been around much longer and no one can dispute the influence they have in shaping the rock scene in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Anugerah Cinta Planet Muzik 2008

Recipient: KRU

Funny how come no one sang a tribute song to them or at least have them perform on stage like last year’s winner Zainal Abidin. Would have certainly rolled back the years when yours truly was just a teenybopper. I said in my predictions entry that I would give them a standing ovation and maybe shed a tear or two. The standing ovation was given but I did not shed any tears as I was still in a shock that they received this award which caught me and even the other KRU staff off-guards. Still, it has to be said that this was a reward they deserved for their efforts in rounding up artistes from all record labels to record the song “Suluhkan Sinar” for the 2004 tsunami benefit. During the thank-you speech, it was no surprise that Edry being the joker of the pack would add a punchline of his own and took a dig at his brothers’ marital status. It had me and Janna laughing away at his nonchalance.

GangStarz winners The Lima looking chic in their outfit…

Various Perspectives

Artistes’ Perspectives – Quite a few things came up short when it came to creative direction as well as preparations leading up to the event. Some artistes I talked to labeled it as “the worst APM” for them. They complained that budgeting and planning wise, a lot of things were left to be desired. Some said that they normally know what to expect, where to enter and exit the stage during their performances as late as a week before the event itself, but this time they only knew during the sound check itself. In terms of creative direction, some were not even able to use their own props nor dancers. And another source of rankle for them was the choice of venue to have the post-event reception which was the humble backstage area, when a proper ballroom would have added a touch of glamour for an event which is supposed to be bigger than the likes of Anugerah Musik Indonesia and Anugerah Industri Muzik. The food spread to them could also have been better.

Media’s Perspective – Even though the majority of performances during the night were great and the huge number of award winners came from the host country, events happening before the main event left a bitter taste in the mouth. The chaotic scenes outside the arena whereby the media and fans were clamouring for the artistes’ photographs and the media getting locked out by security before common sense prevailed, was a major source of backbiting from what I observed and what I read online. The Red Carpet event which was non-existent, robbed the event of its exclusivity. And you know when media people are not happy, especially those who write on entertainment stuff, their choice of vocabulary could be very colourful and unprintable for a family-friendly blog like mine. A lot of other misunderstandings were also heard between the organisers and the media (you can source for them from the various news reports online) and I just hope that in future, these lessons could be learnt so that the reputation of this event could be raised further. I shudder to think the continued bad press the organisers would get had the performances been boring and had the bulk of the winners been from the Indonesian side, since there is already a certain amount of dissent towards the Indonesians for invading their music scene.

Internet Forums’ Perspective – Out of curiosity, I trawled through the Net and schemed through various online forums to see what people had to say about the event. Inevitably there seemed to be an Internet war going on between the Malaysians and Indonesians with the latter shooting down the event as nothing more than nonsense and a waste of time, with the number of artistes from this side of the region being unknown quantity to them. They also questioned the wisdom of the nominations and wondering on what merit do these artistes have in deserving their rightful place. One forum even had a damning title header “Najisnya Anugerah Music Planet“. The amount of vile and abuse there could easily rile one into raging anger. APM might have been into its eighth year but most people in Indonesia have not heard of it. Which brings me to question if people ever bothered to read Bintang Indonesia whereby it is one of the partner media of APM and fans could vote for the popular categories from there, or if the Indonesian media themselves were too engrossed in shutting out hype for the event and artistes from the region as a whole all these while, bearing in mind that their media is even harsher than the ones from Singapore and Malaysia.

Yes, music from Indonesia might be streets and years ahead of Malaysia and Singapore, but the idea of doing APM is to also share these knowledge and expertise to uplift the standard of music in this region. Not to forget, the idea to have this is also to introduce the artistes to the region if they do not know them already. The rest is up to the audience to look up information on these artistes. I admit, I have no idea who is Judika Sihotang and Ussy Sulistiawaty before this and likewise the Indonesians were complaining they dunno who in the world is Faizal Tahir, Anuar Zain and a majority of the Malaysian and Singaporean singers. But it is through events like these that we get to learn who are the music movers and shakers of their respective countries. To shoot down the qualities and capabilities of artistes from other countries, saying that they will never be accepted in their country and harping about how their country’s music is streets ahead smacks of nothing but arrogance. The artistes during the night, no matter where they come from, have been taking pains to say that music is universal and should be shared across all platforms during their speeches. These overzealous people could do well to take heed and open up more rather than shoot from under their own cocoons.

Personal Perspective – From the perspective of a watching fan, I believe this was one of the best APMs I’ve attended, if not the best, since I did not enjoy the last two years’ editions. Though I had listed out a few shortcomings in the earlier paragraphs and even if I had not attended the post-event reception, it still would not affect my general observations. I mean, just look at it this way. From the very start, the artistes and us were trapped outside the entrance prior to the show, with no security people flanking them and what do you expect us to do when we were all armed with cameras??? It was heaven-sent to say the least!!! The seating arrangement, freezing temperature in the arena and technical glitches from the giant screens aside, most of the performances went down well with us, which was enhanced by a great sound system. Though the first half hour came across as draggy and the slight glitch during Datin Sri‘s performance minused a few points, the performances of the local artistes were ones to be proud about and they certainly showed they deserved to be up there with the best amongst the region. I had no qualms about the award winners even if our local acts came up short and did not win anything this time around. There is always room for improvement and just to see their names being nominated in the regional categories show that we can be proud that Singapore indeed has artistes of some calibre and not nominated out of pity. My only hope now is that the standard would remain and the organisers would look into all the other minute details that were a source of rankle amongst the media and the artistes. Oh and not to mention, bringing the show back to our shores next year, even if there is talk about doing it in Jakarta in one of their previous press conferences. All in all, a big thumbs up to Mediacorp Radio and Beyond DDB!!!

P.S. For more photographs taken throughout the night, you can go here or here. Thank you Jihan and Janna for making me a KRU Music Group staff for the night. Also to Noryn Aziz for kindly saying a good few words to my kind visitors…

Predictions on Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Winners…

With three days left to go before the big event, I’m back as promised, with my own predictions on the likely winners of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008. It’s just something fun I regard as a filler to hype up the show. Maybe you would agree or disagree with them and have your own personal favourites but personally I’m predicting more on logic than from the heart. So here goes:

Artis Lelaki Baru Terbaik (Best New Male Artiste):

  • Aliff Aziz – Aliff
  • Diddy – Diddy
  • Faizal Tahir – Aku.Muzik.Kamu
  • Ihsan – The Winner
  • Syed Azmir – Prosa X

Prediction: Faizal Tahir

I would love to plump for our two local boys, quite a rare feat in itself to see two of them in this category as compared to years gone by. In fact this year’s nominations are very much open and I’m cracking my head as well as weighing up all the possible options as to who is more deserving of the award. In this case I chose Faizal for the fact that his style differs from the other Pop, R&B and Ballad princes in this category. Faizal too loves to play around with the high notes, but that’s to be expected when your genre is more to Pop Rock. His infamous episode aside, I believe Faizal Tahir is a better all-round performer with better showmanship. Our two local boys have time on their side to improve on this aspect, though I would be delighted if anyone of them were to win this award.

Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik (Best New Female Artiste):

  • Farah Asyikin – Farah Asyikin
  • Gita Gutawa – Gita Gutawa
  • Mila – Persis Mutiara
  • Rini Wulandari – Aku Tetap Milikmu
  • Ussy Sulistiawati – It’s Me

Prediction: Gita Gutawa

I think when it comes to successful promotions and who the regional audience could relate to, Gita is a standout ever since she made her appearance at last year’s APM. What’s more she has made inroads in Malaysia by fronting an ice-cream commercial with Dafi. And as we saw what she could do last year from playing the guitar to hitting the high keys, I think giving her the award would be fair even if you cannot discount the capabilities of the others in this category.

Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik (Best New Duo / Group):

  • D’Cinnamons – Good Morning
  • Matta – Matta
  • Meet Uncle Hussein – 7 Tahun, 3 Bulan 90 Hari
  • Ran – Ran For Your Life
  • She – Slow Down Baby
  • The Titans – The Titans

Prediction: The Titans

Categories involving groups have a tendency of throwing up surprise winners and running through the list, not much is known of all the groups other than the one or two singles that have made it on national radio. It’s a big toss up but I’m going for The Titans, who for the uninitiated are the breakaway faction of Peterpan.

Lagu Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Song):

  • Ayu – Cradle
  • Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  • 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  • Ku Sendiri – Aliff Aziz
  • Lagu Tidurku – Syed Azmir

Prediction: Berserah – Taufik Batisah

If this song alone could bring luck to our very own Asian Idol, Hady Mirza, in turn making the public know of its existence and boom up the local music charts then it should be accorded its rightful accolade, but wait a minute, this is supposed to be a Best Singapore Song category, not the Most Popular Singapore Song. For its simplicity and its haunting tune, I’m still going for it as the Best Singapore Song. That is not to say the rest in the category do not match up, they do, in fact this is the first time I see that all nominees in this category deserve their rightful nominations. Singapore artistes have come a long way and I’m proud to say they now ooze quality in their works.

Album Terbaik Singapura (Best Singapore Album):

  • Aliff – Aliff Aziz
  • Ceritera Awan – Cradle
  • Prosa X – Syed Azmir
  • Rap Untuk Rakyat – AhliFiqir
  • Teman Istimewa – Taufik Batisah

Prediction: Aliff – Aliff Aziz / Rap Untuk Rakyat – AhliFiqir

This is a toss up though it has to be said the rest could just about win it as well, as like I said above how Singapore artistes have improved in quality this past year. My choice of winner/s could be due to the Ferhad / Hazrul Nizam match up back in 2004 with the former pipping the latter to a more balanced sound and being a better known quantity in the region. But somehow I have a sneaky feeling Cradle might just win it.

Artis Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Artiste):

  • Syed Azmir – Prosa X
  • Aliff Aziz – Aliff
  • Taufik Batisah – Teman Istimewa
  • AhliFiqir – Rap Untuk Rakyat
  • Cradle – Ceritera Awan

Prediction: Aliff Aziz – Aziz

The same nominations again but I would plump solely on Aliff Aziz for the mere fact that he’s been making waves across the Causeway and making the industry sit up in awe of his potential, which still can improve as he goes on. His detractors might have something to say but his nominations I hope and I repeat once again would silence them and prove that his talents are not flawed. The region’s industry bigwigs themselves have stamped their approval on him. Accept it and stop being sour grapes!!!

Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste):

  • Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
  • Faizal Tahir – Aku.Muzik.Kamu
  • Glenn Fredly – Happy Sunday
  • Iwan Fals – 50:50
  • Taufik Batisah – Teman Istimewa

Prediction: Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain

Last year I went for Iwan Fals and fell flat on my face. At the recent Anugerah Musik Indonesia 2008, he was pipped by Ari Lasso, who is not even nominated in this category. I’m going for Anuar Zain not just because I’m a big fan but I believe he has grown as a singer and the quality he put into this album in his words could have produced two or three more albums during the time span he worked on it. Anugerah Industri Muzik 2008 might snub him but the region as a whole recognise this and I’m going for him to win it.

Artis Wanita Terbaik (Best Female Artiste):

  • Bunga Citra Lestari – Cinta Pertama
  • Dayang Nurfaizah – Dayang 2007
  • Elyana – Jadi Diriku
  • Kris Dayanti – Kris Dayanti
  • Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza – Hadiah Daripada Hati

Prediction: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza – Hadiah Daripada Hati

I think you people who know me by now know where my allegiance lie so I don’t think it would make any sense to say why I chose her to win P I believe the nominations are fair even if I still hear people wondering what merit did Elyana possess in getting nominated. Listen to her album, I personally believe she has grown by leaps and bounds from the girl who was thrusted into the scene singing sappy “Niat“.

Artis Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group):

  • Gigi – Peace, Love & Respect
  • Kerispatih – Kenyataan Perasaan
  • Padi – Tak Hanya Diam
  • Samsons – Penantian Hidup
  • Spider – Bintang 12
  • Ungu – Untukmu Selamanya

Prediction: Gigi – Peace, Love & Respect / Spider – Bintang 12

This is another category where everybody has an equal opportunity to win. Padi has won it before in recent years and their album has always been of a standard which Indonesian groups tend to set a benchmark to. But I’m going for Gigi as I feel this is their best album to date and with two songs nominated in the Best Song Category, it shows the quality of the album shining through. Likewise I feel this latest offering by Spider is their best to date as almost every single in the album is a hit on both sides of the Causeway. The engineering of the album also has a Singaporean touch to it. No prizes for guessing who.

Lagu Terbaik (Best Song):

  • Dewi – Dewa19
  • Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
  • Menanti Pasti – Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza
  • Mengenangmu – Kerispatih
  • Nakal – Gigi
  • 11 Januari – Gigi

Prediction: 11 Januari – Gigi

Personally I love this song for its lyrics and melody, not cos in a way it could also be a tribute to Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza as her birthday falls on this date. This song won the Best Song award at the recent Anugerah Musik Indonesia 2008 event. Who is to say it would not repeat the same feat within a week???

Album Terbaik (Best Album):

  • Aku, Muzik, Kamu – Faizal Tahir
  • Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
  • Kenyataan Perasaan – Kerispatih
  • Peace, Love, Respect – Gigi
  • Tak Hanya Diam – Padi

Prediction: Tak Hanya Diam – Padi

This category made me crack my head and pull my hair (literally!!!) weighing up all the options. Everyone is a worthy winner if you were to listen to all the albums, but somehow I’m going for Padi as they always tend to sound different than most, a unique characteristic that sets them apart.

Artis Lelaki Paling Popular (Most Popular Male Artiste):

  1. Adam
  2. Aliff Aziz
  3. Anuar Zain
  4. Ari Lasso
  5. Faizal Tahir
  6. Hady Mirza
  7. Imran Ajmain
  8. Irwansyah
  9. Kaer
  10. Mawi
  11. Once (Dewa 19)
  12. Taufik Batisah

Prediction: Taufik Batisah / Mawi / Anuar Zain

With so many demi-gods in this category, it is so difficult to state who deserves this more. Taufik had his share in 2006 which the Malaysian press and audience cried foul and went up in arms since they thought back then no one was bigger than the bald-headed one. He got his reward last year perhaps due to the Malaysian fans overzealous’ voting. But do not discount the possible threat of Anuar Zain who I believe exudes more influence and love between fans from both sides of the Causeway. I doubt Indonesian fans bother to vote really cos if they did, an Indonesian artiste would have won this due to their population, which is even more than Malaysia and Singapore combined. Just look at how Sofaz won last year.

Artis Wanita Paling Popular (Most Popular Female Artiste):

  1. Acha Septriasa
  2. Agnes Monica
  3. Bunga Citra Lestari
  4. Ella
  5. Elyana
  6. Jaclyn Victor
  7. Kris Dayanti
  8. Melly Goeslaw
  9. Mila
  10. Mulan Jameela
  11. Rossa
  12. Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

Prediction: Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

11 straight years winning at Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2008, 8 straight years at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 beckons for her. She is undoubtedly the most popular face in the region. The only time the rest has a chance if she tells the organisers she does not want to be nominated, just like how she wanted to take a break from Anugerah Juara Lagu a few years ago.

Duo / Kumpulan Paling Popular (Most Popular Duo / Group):

  1. Ahli Fiqir
  2. Cradle
  3. Dewa 19
  4. Estranged
  5. Jinbara
  6. Matta
  7. Nidji
  8. Peterpan
  9. Sofaz
  10. The Lima
  11. Ungu
  12. Vagetoz

Prediction: Dewa 19 / Matta / Nidji/ Peterpan / Ungu

I find it odd that Spider, Gigi and Padi did not make the grade in this category. Many people, me included, thought last year’s recipient Sofaz was a freakish result in itself. But I doubt they would win it again this year. Expect an Indonesian group to take the plaudits though I feel The Lima and Vagetoz are not yet strong enough to win it.

Lagu Paling Popular (Most Popular Song):

  1. Atas Nama Cinta – Rossa
  2. Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  3. 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  4. Itu Kamu – Estranged
  5. Izinku Pergi – Kaer
  6. Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
  7. Ketahuan – Matta
  8. Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain
  9. Menghapus Jejakmu – PeterPan
  10. Nakal – Gigi
  11. Perlu Kamu – Ajai & Kris Dayanti
  12. Sembunyi – Misha & Andy (Flop Poppy)

Prediction: Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu

There’s something about this song that people in the region just love it, judging by the number of requests being asked to play the song, even if the meaning is rather negative to say the least. Personally I hate this song though I have been guilty of humming to it whenever I hear it on radio. If this song does not win, then expect Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Itu Kamu – Estranged, Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain and Ketahuan – Matta to bag this. It’s just too open to call.

Artis Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Artiste):

  1. Aliff Aziz
  2. Elfee R. Ismail
  3. Hady Mirza
  4. Sleeq
  5. Taufik Batisah

Prediction: Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Aliff Aziz

From an original list of 20, the organisers have narrowed it down to 5, of which the Top 3 will be named the three most popular Singapore artistes. Looking at the Top 5, it’s easy to see who have the biggest following of the five. This is a no brainer category for me. It shouldn’t have included the other 15 who were chopped away in the first place, with all due respect to all of them knowing full well the fanbase these three possess.

Lagu Singapura Popular (Most Popular Singapore Song):

  1. Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  2. Kasih Mengapa – Rauzan Feat. Rozie & Urban Sensation
  3. Krakatau – Spellbound
  4. Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz
  5. Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli

Prediction: Berserah – Taufik Batisah, Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz & Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli

Another no-brainer category though it has to be said that the inclusion of Kasih Mengapa and Krakatau came as a big surprise. However, it only made the choice of picking the Top 3 even easier for me, with Didicazli being the next person after Taufik, Hady and Aliff with a big following to count on for the votes. I gotta admit I underestimated this guy’s potential at last year’s event and I’m not going to make the same mistake again.

Anugerah Khas Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 / Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Special Achievement Award

Traditionally, this category has always been a secret to many years gone by. We’ve had M. Nasir (2001), Ebiet G. Ade (2002), Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza (2003), Allahyarham Chrisye (2004), Ramli Sarip (2005), Allahyarham Rosli Khamis a.k.a Loloq (2006) and Kris Dayanti (2007) receiving this award for their numerous contributions to the music industry. This year we will have the first group in the history of Anugerah Planet Muzik to win this award for their numerous contributions to the music and lately, film industry in Malaysia. It is not in my jurisdiction to reveal who is the rightful recipient. All I can say is they really deserve to receive this accolade in their home town and I know I will give them a standing ovation, maybe shed a tear or two, when they go up on stage to receive this award as it has been really worth it supporting their career when they first burst onto the scene in 1992. I guess by dropping all the hints, some of you might know who I am referring to by now.

Anugerah Cinta Planet Muzik 2008

I dunno who is going to win it this time. Last year, they were keen on informing who was going up on stage to receive this award but nothing has been said as at press time. If the theme is still on environment and the eco-system, then maybe they might be giving this to Hady Mirza or / and Aliff Aziz for their recent involvement in eco-friendly activities. Your guess is as good as mine really.

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Though no one has revealed who is the host/s for the night and I’ve not heard it myself, a kind visitor to my blog alerted me to the fact that RIA’s head honcho, Mr Hassan Salleh, spilled the beans this past Monday night on Warna 94.2FM revealing that this year’s event will be hosted by Sarah Sechan, who is making a comeback after being away for years. But I doubt she will be the only one bearing in mind that this event is known for the huge number of presenters. Sources also told me it is going to be a “1 + 3” affair with regards to the host/s. What it means is anybody’s guess. This year’s event just has too many secrets and surprises in store. Having one host itself could be its biggest surprise yet.

For those who still do not know, APM2008 can be heard live on RIA 89.7FM, Warna 94.2FM and ERA 104.5FM (if you are listening from Johor & Singapore, if not, your local state frequency applies) on Sunday 20th April 2008 9pm. For the more fortunate ones, you can watch the event live on Astro RIA (Malaysia) and Global TV (Indonesia), same time and date as stated in the previous sentence…

So, does your personal predictions differ to mine??? Let’s hear them within these next few days…

Ian Qalysyah’s 1st Birthday Party & Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Prelude…

That’s quite a mouthful for an entry title isn’t it??? I’m beginning to hate weekends, cos weekends mean I have to do house chores mostly all by myself, especially now with the wife in confinement. Not that I hate to do them but it’s no fun doing it alone and taking up a lot of your time. Maybe I’m so used to growing up with a maid and am still adjusting to living on my own. Which was why I was thankful these two events happened on a day that all work has been done and I needed that wee bit of respite and rest to recharge for the coming week ahead.

Many thanks are in store to my best friend, Nizam and wifey sis Ian for first and foremost inviting us to the 1st birthday celebrations party of their sweet daughter Ian Qalysyah. I’m still a bit stumped that she’s turned one already cos I still remember Nizam sms-ing us to pray for her safe delivery on the eve of her birth day (11th April 2007). When I received his sms back then, I was in the middle of working out at the gym. How fast time has flown and now she has grown to be a cute infant with adorable and dreamy eyes.

We were not expected to attend since Aida‘s condition did not allow her to do so, but it was not a good reason for me to miss out since I’m still well enough to go and answer my best friend’s invite. I had initially planned to bring Syahindah Adawiyah along but bearing in mind how fidgety she could be if she were to sit for more than 15 minutes on her car seat, I decided against it. Even though both our homes are just a 5 minutes drive away, this event was held in the humble function room of a beautiful condominium set in the East.

I liked the whole setting, it was simple, humble and the place was cozy enough for close friends and family members to mingle about. Coupled with the fact that it was by the poolside, the ambience couldn’t be more apt for an event like this. I dunno maybe it’s just me, but I kinda like gatherings like these by the poolside. Diah‘s daughter’s (Sharleez Nadya) first birthday was a fine example of a gathering by the poolside that comes to mind.

When I came at about 1pm, the cake cutting was already done and dusted and games had been played, which was evident on some of the arms of the guests, as they had some fancy markings on them. I took time out to catch up with Nizam‘s family members and also Ian‘s father whom I’ve not met in ages. It’s always nice to have a conversation with people you’ve not met in awhile cos there will always be a lot of stories to share. I just love the company and the warmth being spread all over cos Nizam‘s family treat me like their own already.

I wanted to take more pictures of the birthday girl herself but she was so popular with the guests that the only photo I could take was when she finally rested on her daddy’s shoulders to rest and take a nap. Some kids are scared and overwhelmed by the event made for them which could sometimes make them cranky or cry but Qaly was the consummate professional and just enjoying it with a smile on her face. The only time she got cranky was when she wanted to nap, which is a norm for most little kids I know. Thanks again to Nizam, Ian and family for having me around…

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After the birthday event, I took my leave and headed towards nearby Geylang Serai for the Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Prelude event held at the Malay Village‘s Dewan Singgahsana Hall, via a short stopover to observe my responsibilities. I was surprised to see quite a number of people at Geylang Serai on a Sunday afternoon as my only knowledge of the crowd is during the mornings when people come to do their weekly marketing. I believe half the number of people there were Indonesian workers and maids having their off day. There is even a dangdut club right smack near the Malay Village entrance where these people let their hair down, judging by the number of people queuing up to enter and listening to the way they spoke.

Saw a few familiar faces amongst the audience (my fellow listener friends) as I entered the Dewan Singgahsana Hall and started to chat with some of them. There was already a healthy number in attendance with all the seats on the lower level taken up and many more standing by the sides and at the back. For some weird reason or another, nobody sat at the second floor until much later when the hosts made the announcement and invited the audience who were standing by the sides to go up so as to ease the congestion on the lower level. Even though the hosts of the day were announced as TG from Warna 94.2FM and Fiza from RIA 89.7FM, KC and Nona Kirana from RIA as well as Suriani from Warna also took over the hosting duties during the Karaoke Kelam-Kabut and Tiru Gaya Artis segments.

Fiza & TG: The main hosts for the day…

I was in attendance more for the performances by the guest artistes (Sleeq, Didicazli & Azyza who was a late addition) than the various interactive segments meant for the audience. But the interactive segments were entertaining as well, if not a bit flawed with regards to the main karaoke competition. A lot of laughter were shared and generally I felt the crowd left satisfied with what was in store. The Tiru Gaya Artis segment especially threw up weird participation. Who would expect “Taufik Batisah” to be balding and having a generous amount of facial hair??? When the participant won and made a short thank you speech, Nona Kirana and Suriani remarked that he spoke like a Member of Parliament. Unknown to them, the participant’s brother (Mr. Zulkifli Mohd) used to be a Member of Parliament back in the late 80s, so similarities are uncanny in that respect. How do I know??? Let’s just say that their family and my parents are childhood buddies.

The boys from Sleeq were definitely slick with their moves…

But I guess I was more floored by the performance of a certain Noraisyah Aziz during the main Karaoke competition. If the name rings a bell but you don’t seem to remember from where, she’s the younger sister of last year’s Anugerah 2007 winner, Aliff. I’ve heard a lot about her before but not seen her in action and some sources even said that vocal-wise, she’s much better than her famous brother. It was a great introduction to seeing her perform on a big stage like that and I would not be surprised if she enters the next Anugerah competition or the following edition after that. She has the whole package to succeed: height, looks, the voice. And for someone who does not fancy Taufik Batisah‘s “Berserah” as compared to “Sesuatu Janji” before this, I was warmed over by her interpretation of the song. If someone sings and makes my hair stand, he or she has gained my stamp of approval and not many singers out there have won me over. Noraisyah, considered the novice, made me bristled and stood in awe of her voice. It was fortunate that I managed to record it for you guys to enjoy her performance. The only disappointment for me was the fact that she was upstaged by a tone-deaf 13-year old who won only cos the audience were the judges and they supported him more for his showmanship in asking the audience to clap for him.

While Sleeq continues to impress me with their showmanship and more stable vocal techniques, Didicazli went one better by showing his softer side and serenading to a handicapped girl on wheelchair. He was also at ease communicating with the audience and exchanging banter with Fiza when they had a brief interview. Azyza is one performer who is very much under-rated here in Singapore. While she has bags of experience having sang at night clubs, her one flaw could be attributed to the X-factor and stage presence that she lacks. In an industry where the male singers are being worshipped like demi-gods, it takes more than just vocal precision to win the fans over. Azyza should also pay attention to her choice of stage wear. I will not say more other than to say one’s physical assets should not be enhanced further by the tightness of the top, lest you’ll get a wardrobe malfunction. Which was why I chose not to take any photos of her performance, not that she was unendearing to watch.

Nona Kirana & Suriani looking for would-be impersonators amongst the audience…

It was a decent effort by the two main protagonists behind the Anugerah Planet Muzik event to have a prelude show like the one I attended last Sunday. Though I felt that more of these outdoor shows could be done in the weeks leading up to the event, this was a good promo in its own right and hyped up the adrenaline of the audience in attendance to expect a grand occasion come Sunday 20th April 2008. I certainly hope so as the reactions from the media abroad and even my own observations, did not not paint much of a rosy picture over the past two years’ editions. The only thing I felt shortchanged was the non-mention of who is to be the host/s of the event. Even when I tried probing KC & Fiza after the show ended, they were coy enough not to give anything away and let it be a surprise for everyone. I will share with you my humble predictions on the upcoming winners in my next entry…

Didicazli with his priviledged supporter…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Prelude…

With just 12 days to go, the excitement and heat generating from Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 (APM) is being felt everywhere. Wait a minute, did I say everywhere??? For starters, the promotions that are being held are currently limited to the two local Malay radio stations (RIA & Warna), who are also the main organisers of this event. Radio ERA, which is the co-official radio station from the Malaysian side, only starts their on-air promotions next week, with VIP tickets up for grabs (how come there are no VIP tickets for Singapore???), even if they have started to air trailers and interview artistes who are involved with the event since yesterday.

Industry sources from Malaysia and Indonesia and even visitors to my main domain have reported that APM is still very much a stranger to their shores. They find the event weird with just a trophy and nothing else, not to mention being stumped by most of the nominees of each category. Coupled with the bad press that the event has been getting from foreign journalists covering it in recent years, organising it in Kuala Lumpur this year, seems like the wrong choice. Yes, I have to admit, I was and still am very much peeved at the decision to make it across the Causeway. But over the past few weeks, I have been trying to understand where the organisers are coming from, the rationale behind doing it in Kuala Lumpur. If it means introducing our local acts to the Malaysian audience for a crack at the big time over there, then it could well pay off. If it means, they are able to collaborate with the watching bigwigs, then it’s fine enough.

I know this event is supposed to be for the region and not limited to Singapore, so why then are there separate Singaporean categories??? Doesn’t it show that it is also an event for Singaporeans to be proud of and made to stay in these shores for good??? I dunno, I just feel that for all the efforts made by the organisers to make this the premier event for the region, most people still do not know of its existence, or some might have been turned off by past events, or promotions are only limited to Singapore. Each country has its own agenda and propaganda as to who should be nominated and who should not. Every year I keep on hearing and reading of people being unhappy at the nominations. Most have no idea who are our artistes and what business do they have to be mentioned in the same categories as their own, whom they regard as more superior and that our artistes’ presence are mere tokens. Even some of the Indonesian nominees are unheard of in Malaysia and Singapore. Has anyone heard of Azyza, with all due respect to her??? Some of you might be forgiven if you think she is a Malaysian artiste, when in fact she’s a Singaporean. And who the heck is Ussy Sulistiawati some of you might wonder??? So whose fault is this??? The organisers??? The record companies??? The artistes??? The media???

Looking at the Singaporean line-up of performers, I don’t think Aliff Aziz and AhliFiqir needs any introduction. And Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza have already been performing in APM (Taufik since 2005 and Hady last year), which means they too need no introduction. But are they getting any headway in their career paths??? Hady, bless him, is already making inroads in the Indonesian market (thanks to his Asian Idol title), which is the barometer of what achieving success in the regional market is all about. Sadly, our two Idols are finding it tough to crack the market in Malaysia, where Jaclyn Victor seems to be THE ONLY Idol and no one else, even if they had Daniel as the subsequent winner of the series there. I seriously hope that this APM being held in Kuala Lumpur would kickstart their careers there and show that the Singaporean invasion currently being led by Imran Ajmain, Aliff and AhliFiqir are not mere flash in the pan.

It is extremely interesting to note that for the first time in eight years, Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza at press time, is not in the line-up of performers. Which is strange cos APM has inevitably turned into a mini Siti Nurhaliza showcase for me. But I guess this time she’s making way for others to shine. But seriously, she’s not going to disappear from this event. If I was a betting man, I’d bet my life that she will still appear on stage to receive an 8th-straight Most Popular Female Artiste award. The recent Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian event proved that her star is still bright for the 11th year running. But I agree that there should be a diversity and not recycle the same performers year in and out (Hint: Our 2 Idols). Actually I have a niggly issue with the Singaporean performers. We have a healthy pool of talent waiting in the wings, but why is it that we have the same old people performing on the night??? With just 12 days to go to the event, I hope more names from the Singaporean side could be announced. It would most definitely be a morale booster for our artistes and I’m sure the exposure will do wonders to their respective careers. If I was a Singaporean artiste, I wouldn’t mind not being paid, so long as I get to perform on a big stage and prove my worth to grace such a prestigious event. I believe any Singaporean artiste reading this who would want to spread their wings, would share my sentiments, even if I do not represent anyone.

If only we could have various weekend roadshows around Singapore about two months before the event just to hype up the show, maybe we could attract more people or at least create some awareness of it. Cos if we were to follow the leads being set in Malaysia with different artistes gracing different roadshows in different states, we could at least have something to heighten promotions, not to mention giving our artistes the exposure that they badly need to our own audience. Yes I know, money and sponsorship are big factors when it comes to organising such events and I believe this does not happen just with the radio but the television side as well. I’m just amazed at how in Malaysia they can go about having these roadshows like nobody’s business and how much the sponsors are willing to fork out. I wonder if our business people over here are not willing to take a gamble and pump their cash for some flash, just to see our music industry grow.

This domain of mine is by no means THE OFFICIAL BLOG / WEBSITE of APM2008. Since no one else is doing it and what you get at the organisers’ websites are just the list of nominees and event information, I take the liberty to update and inform what I hear so that people would support the event, no matter what grouses and complaints we / you might have. At the end of the day, I still see this event as our own and am proud that we have something credible, if not substantial, to show for to the region. For those who have time to spare this Sunday 13th April 2008, there will be an APM2008 Prelude Roadshow at Dewan Singgahsana Malay Village Geylang Serai at 3:30pm. That’s in Singapore for those of you reading this in Malaysia and Indonesia. Guest artistes performing will be Didicazli and Sleeq, who are by the way, nominated in the popular local categories. There will be games and APM2008 tickets to be won, so come down if you are free to do so.

P.S. By the way, tickets are not being sold anywhere so please stop asking me where and when are they being sold, especially in Malaysia, cos I have no idea what’s going on over there. The only thing you’ve got to do if you are in Malaysia is to tune in to your premier (ok I know Hot FM lovers will disagree) radio station ERA for more details cos they are the co-official radio station. Oh and maybe Astro might have something up in store as well since the event will be shown live on Astro Ria

Cleanse Your Heart From Suspicions & Ill-Will…

I dunno whether to be all jumpy and peeved when I read someone’s recent blog entry. In it, she said that she had stumbled upon a certain group in Facebook that I was invited to join, and is adopting a wait and see stance before deciding to join. Cos why??? She didn’t want her bad experience joining a previous Yahoo Group to repeat again when she saw that the same member (she did not mention who but definitely was referring to yours truly) is also in the Facebook group.

Last year on 15 December 2006, I typed an entry titled “Sincerity Can Be A Bane“. To summarise what I said in that entry, I was extremely disappointed that my sincerity to help unite old friends was misinterpreted the wrong way. Picture this, they have not met like almost 2 decades and since I was still in contact with a few of them, I went out of my way to try and bring them all together again. But some people in the group made it looked and sounded so elitist and exclusive that outsiders were deemed as groupies and looked upon with utter disdain. I would not have gone out of my way had I not had the permission from the founders of the group to go ahead. And I wasn’t even expecting any acceptances nor accolades to be a part of the group. Far from it. Plus I won’t assist if people did not invite me to do so, bearing in mind there will be unhappy characters who will question a stranger’s motives in the short and long run.

She used the words “Bad Experience“. What “Bad Experience” did I inflict upon the group other than reunite them with about 10 other old friends??? As a Muslim, you should know damn bloody well that helping others to foster silaturrahim is something that is encouraged. No point you blog and say you want to answer the call for prayers (the saying “Tak guna sembahyang tunggang-tonggek” comes to mind) but your heart is still filled with suspicions and ill-will towards others. And you are wearing the Hijab too for God‘s sake!!! Reading her trials and tribulations in life through her writings, I can’t help but sympathise with her but sometimes things like these makes me wonder if they are all retributions on her but I certainly don’t wished them upon her.

One year on from that experience, and those bad thoughts still linger in her head. I wonder who should be referring to it as a “Bad Experience“, me or her??? I dunno if she will be reading this entry but I hope she will cleanse her heart from all these negative thoughts and approach life with less suspicions and think of others in a more positive light. And may Allah forgive her for her misgivings towards me cos really, I dunno what wrong I’ve done to her when I have not even met nor known her personally for her to be so quick to judge me as such. And just for her kind info, I am helping the Facebook group reunite with the whole gang again whether she likes it or not. I gain nothing from all these but personal satisfaction to see old friends get together again, plus my wife qualifies to be a part of this group if it ever evolves to be elitist and exclusive again (which I know it will not, based on its intentions).

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It’s been more than a week since my last entry. I would like to thank all of you who sent your birthday greetings to my daughter Syahindah Adawiyah through comments in this domain, my cross-post Multiply blog as well as personal sms-es. We did not throw her a grand party knowing that she is too young to understand nor appreciate such a celebration. Anyway, Aida and I plus both sets of our families are not keen on a grand-scale celebration. Just like how we were not keen on holding a “Tahniq” (“Cukur Rambut“) ceremony after she was born. In that respect, we uphold our family tradition in keeping things humble and just celebrating it amongst us. At least she still got to cut her cake and received gifts from us.

To see Syahindah‘s mini party at home, please click here.

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Last Saturday (8 December 2007) we went to Ang Mo Kio Central to watch the semi-finals of Band Remix, a competition organised by RIA 89.7FM where groups are supposed to sing a song of their choice in a different genre. Some might say these groups are out to destroy the original versions and from what I heard last year, some of the songs were definitely not pleasing to the ears (my own personal opinion!!!). But this year is so much different. Aida and I were definitely impressed with the competition on show and we were glad that the groups that entered the Final were the ones we liked. Though we did not spend a long time there, it was enough for us to be entertained.

Even Syahindah was dancing and headbanging whilst sitting on her stroller till Aura Shai quipped that she can take over her tag as “The Original Rock Chick” in future. We also made Fiza O a happy person by introducing Syahindah to her, cos all these while, she had been telling us how much she wanted to meet the little one, since we did not get the opportunity to bring her on previous shows. Great semi-finals and I bet the Final itself will be even greater. I’m still contemplating whether to go cos I am expecting something on that night…

Anugerah 2007 Final Predictions…

Ok what else is there for me to say after all I’ve said over the past fortnight??? I guess whatever views I have on the four finalists will not matter now and we all already know what they are capable of on stage. I’ll cut to the chase and give my predictions:

My Anugerah 2007 Final winner is:

Maiya Rahman

Why???

That’s easy… Her fanbase is huge, or at least stable enough to sustain her survival week in and out. Coupled that with consistent performances week in and out and a voice that is controlled in pitching, she should be able to win the judges’ hearts. And if you want to talk about looks as a package, she is much sweeter looking than her direct rival Nuwarrah, with a captivating and warm smile to boot. My only fear for her is that she might suffer like her predecessors. Or in our local Malay music industry’s context, the female singers suffering from the fans’ obsession with the male singers.

I’m not entirely convinced with the terms mapped out for the other finalists. There is only so much they can do being under Suria‘s Artiste Management Unit (AMU). Not that I’m looking down at Suria but I feel more could have been tapped from the previous Anugerah 2005 cohort. Syed Azmir did a good job by turning them down and going on his own. We can’t blame the other three for signing up cos like everyone else, they too had hoped for a good and meaningful career in this line under the AMU. As it is, only Fauzie Laily‘s star is shining and we see his versatility in singing, acting and now hosting, though I’m still not convinced with the latter seeing how he stumbles on his words almost weekly. But I can see a lot of improvement when it comes to ad-libbing.

Suria should take a gamble on Hyrul and Khairil, since afterall the former I believe, is getting good training from the Singapore Armed Forces’ Music & Drama Company where he’s learning the tricks of the trade to be an even better entertainer. Maybe they do have plans in store so I guess the waiting game is still on. Just hope that the four finalists tomorrow could carve a niche in the industry and do well in their future endeavours. It will be futile for wannabe stars in two years’ time to enter such competitions if the state of the industry is still as such. I hope for their sake, that is not the case…

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Over the past week if you guys have been listening to the Bistro segment on RIA 89.7FM, you would have noticed I’ve been accused of being smug and arrogant with my views and comments on radio or maybe agree with those accusations. Simply because:

a) I’ve been very critical of Kassreeal‘s & Wan Arshad‘s fans, who I deemed as “tone-deaf” and “musically and artistically blind

b) I’ve revelled in my spot-on predictions, albeit for just a day last Wednesday

c) Any comments made on air were deemed as me trying to be a know-all

It’s like the old syndrome of the listeners have returned once again. New nicknames emerge to give their own backlash on yours truly, when I know damn well it’s from the usual names I hear and know, just that they are afraid I might ostracise them if they were to use their normal nicks. Their comments really have no effect on me cos I’m not asking them to take my words wholesale. And with regards to being arrogant, my conscience is clear. “Pujangga Malam™” is not about shoving his ideas on people. He believes in sharing knowledge and since afterall sharing is caring and I certainly do care for my community.

When one does not have any substantial views to debate, counter or agree, one tends to find the other person’s flaws to get back at them and sow even more seeds of discontent. Sadly, these people are barking up the wrong tree. While I appreciate their comments and in turn keeping myself in check, I see no reasons to change as I know my intentions to change the community’s mindset and mentality is clear as the ocean. This is my personal mission on radio, even if I receive flak and disheartening comments. If they can rid themselves from their cocoons and see the world in a bigger perspective, I’m sure there’ll be more Ashley Ishams out there…