LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition Promo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Review…

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I purposely post this entry a week after the competition series ended for the fact that I do not foresee much entries that I will be making between now and March, so a little breather is more than welcome. Afterall, I have been quite diligent with my weekly reviews over the course of the competition. I know most of you who are not linked to me via social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram would not see the photographs I snapped, unless you follow the contestants themselves. So fret not, because this penultimate review on Mediacorp Suria‘s inaugural beauty-cum-talent search competition will have hundreds of them featured, even more than what I normally upload for your viewing pleasure. So where do I begin??? With the choice of the winner, Fatin Amira, of course!!!

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Like the first episode, Sezairi Sezali opened the show, this time performing Dato’ Sheila Majid‘s “Ratu“…

Fatin‘s coronation as the first winner of Ratu was in truth, no surprise to yours truly, and I’m sure to regular viewers of the series as well. She has been very consistent since Episode 4, has a very strong grasp and understanding of the Malay language, confident, composed and dare I say, a certain air of nonchalance which sets her apart from her fellow competitors. I did not say explicitly who were my favourites to win but along with Wida Alisa, both of them were my personal two choices to win the competition, with no disrespect to the other finalists, even though physical beauty-wise, the others had the edge. It was a matter of who was to blink or make that odd mistake that would sway the odds against their favour. I did say in my preview of the Grand Finals, the one who would win would be the one who maintained their poise and composure and not be let down by small mistakes and this was true, as Fatin aced almost every segment that night.

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Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff‘s onstage chemistry was one of the plus points of the competition series…

I saw several comments online from sour grapes who questioned the choice of anointing Fatin as the winner as she is not as pretty as some of her fellow contestants. The aim of this competition was not merely to choose who is the most good-looking or who is the most popular. The aim was to choose an all-round winner, someone who is not only good-looking but a person of holistic substance. She has to be intelligent and media savvy, confident in the way she carries herself and have a certain degree of raw potential that could be polished in time to come as a television personality in hosting or acting. In Fatin Amira, I have no doubt that she was the right choice by the judges who carried the heavy responsibility of choosing a winner who could be someone we can be proud of in time to come – a beauty with brains. Above all, I am convinced that Fatin is ready to face the media across the Causeway, whom we all know are more harsh than our own and will always be ready to find faults and not give an inch, what more a yard.

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The Top 6 Finalists!!!

Why I said I am convinced, is how consistent and calm she has been at answering questions throughout the competition. Even when she was interviewed by Hafeez Glamour in his Go Glam radio programme the day after her win, she answered several difficult questions with ease, even those questions that were posed to her fellow finalists during the Grand Finals itself. When she appeared a second time during Dzar Ismail and Nity Baizura‘s Personality Zoom segment last Friday, I posed a challenging question on how she would react if the President of Seniman were to question her credibility and presence in their scene. Her answer suitably impressed me, saying that she is new and will no doubt learn from the people she is working with to improve on her flaws. Opportunities are also available everywhere for people to work and add value to a certain industry, no matter which country they are working at. She ended by saying that people should just widen their mentality and not be hampered by selfish interests. No doubt she is ready and feisty, willing to face the challenges in store.

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The panel of judges sharing a laugh when Aaron Aziz (hidden) made his point across…

I will not put down Wida Alisa for her gaffe that night. I think enough of criticisms online have been hurled at her and I am sure she did not mean what she said on purpose. We all make mistakes, it was just unfortunate that such an error was made on live television, under such pressure-cooker situations. Most of those who have hurled their criticisms are the same people who will equally freeze or make mistakes themselves if they swapped shoes with her. It is not easy to look pretty and answer random questions thrown at you. What more to translate in Malay when we think daily in English. Likewise there was not much wrong with Wan Anisah‘s final answers, other than the fact that it did not resonate with our community and culture. The prerogative was hers to answer as best she could and one that suited her personal interests and personality. No one should put her down for her honesty, at least she did not lie her way just to score points with the judges.

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The suave Awi Rafael performing “Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta“, his second hit single after “Pulanglah“…

It was also good that the finalists were put through a short acting segment to suss their potential in this particular area, since they will after all, go on to star in a movie produced by Metrowealth International Group. They are raw as evident from their voice intonation and static delivery, having no prior background before this, hence one cannot expect a flawless performance. Even most new actors and actresses in Malaysian movies have been panned as wooden before, but they built on the opportunities given to them and improved over the years. Likewise the same can be expected from our Top 3, with Fatin Amira and Wan Anisah the better performers that night in the acting skit they were involved in. Even though the camera was not focused on them, what impressed me was they kept the scene flowing with their facial and body expressions. For that, we have to thank the likes of Mastura Ahmad, Zaidi Ibrahim and Seriwahyuni Jaes for imparting useful acting knowledge to the girls.

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Fatin Amira, the deserving winner of Ratu!!!

Ratu has been a relative success in my opinion, no matter what the critics might say. Critics are always willing to give their piece of mind at anything and everything, but almost always failing to give substantial alternatives and suggestions on how to better the show. This is the first of its kind which Mediacorp Suria has embarked upon, and naturally, glitches are to be expected. Definitely the producers will do a review on how they can better the next edition or if there is another one of its kind, but for the males instead. This is a new venture on uncharted waters, which no matter the storm they faced, at the end of the day, the ship still reached its harbour safe and sound, if I were to put it in such analogy. The opportunity and experience given to up-and-coming beauties was definitely enriching for all the contestants and I am sure they came out better and confident ladies. This was evident in their catwalk during the Grand Finals. Oh how beautiful all sixteen of them looked, especially the opening segment and one wondered why were they not dolled up like that since the first episode???

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Group photo of the contestants, judges, hosts and guests-of-honour after the show ended…

It has been fun covering the competition over 61 days, from the time the media conference was called to introduce the sixteen of them, right down to the Grand Finals. I gained sixteen new friends as a result, all charming and sweet ladies and I wish nothing but the best to all of them on their subsequent endeavours henceforth. If they still harbour hopes on entering the entertainment industry, then I suggest that they sign up with the various local performing arts / theatre groups to hone their craft, learn the ropes from experienced hands and come back for another shot when another reality competition comes around. It does not have to be in acting, because I know some have talents in dance or having the voice for hosting. Do not limit themselves to just acting because with their respective strengths, they can expand and try viable alternative avenues. Anything is possible. To Fatin Amira, congratulations once again on being crowned the first ever winner of Ratu in Mediacorp Suria‘s history!!! I do look forward to seeing her grace our television and silver screens very soon!!!

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Preview…

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Poster

Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria

This is it!!! The Grand Finals of Mediacorp Suria‘s latest talent-spotting competition comes to an end this coming 15 January 2013. After eight weeks of sweat and tears, and with the number of contestants whittled down to six out of the sixteen that began the competition, we will know who will be crowned the new face of the television station by the end of Tuesday night. Joining Nuraliza Osman and Hafeez Glamour on the judging panel will be Metrowealth International Group‘s CEO, Major David Teo, renowned Malaysian fashion designer Jovian Mandagie and Mr.Adam Mukhriz” himself, Aaron Aziz. The guest artistes of the night will be Awi Rafael, no stranger to our local music scene, who has made a name for himself across the Causeway with hits like “Pulanglah“, “Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta” and of late, “Asalkan Aku OK” and making a welcome return since the very first episode of the competition, Sezairi Sezali. In this entry I will give a lowdown on each of the six finalists based on my observations and through making small talk with them after each episode.

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Fatin Amira – I was actually surprised when I found out that Fatin Amira just turned twenty years of age this past New Year’s Eve. Her maturity belies her age. Other than coming across as a dead ringer for Malaysian R&B princess Dayang Nurfaizah, she did not strike me initially as a possible Ratu in the initial stages of the competition. But from Episode 4 onwards, she progressed and grew on her own through the carefully crafted and matured answers she gave during the Q&A segments. Add to the way she improved and aced on her catwalk, she was never in danger of elimination. Definitely a hot favourite to win, though she needs to calm down, enjoy herself and just forget about winning to detract the jitters away. Television and radio hosting could also be her thing in time to come as I had previously mentioned that she definitely has the tone of voice suited for the two broadcasting mediums.

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Nur Aqilah Kamaruddin – She first captured my attention during the Media Conference to introduce the sixteen contestants of this competition through none other than her megawatt smile. This is not to say that the other contestants are not sincere nor generous with their smiles, far from it, but Aqilah‘s smile I feel is the most sincere and could melt one’s heart. Also the most demure and gentle of the six finalists, she is blessed with gracefulness and this was evident in the earlier rounds when we saw her execute the Malay dance and Silat routines as though she was born to perform them. However, she still comes across as a bit shy and needs to be a bit more vivacious and above all, be more confident of herself that she can still win the competition. If there is someone she can be compared to currently in our scene, then I am looking no further than to resident host of Ratu, Marina Yusoff.

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Shillah Marlysha – I am not sure if she knows or is aware of this, but Shillah Marlysha is actually one of the favourites to win and touted by those working behind-the-scenes as someone that could grace our television screens in time to come, either as a host or an actress. The potential in terms of physical aspect is there, she is tall, pretty and already has some modelling background prior to joining this competition. For that experience alone, she has had quite a headstart over the others, and you can see that from the way she struts on the runway. And those killer dimples are a definite attraction, since not many female artistes are blessed with that. She needs to show it more by smiling even when the cameras are not panning in her direction, because when she does not smile, she looks a bit aloof and fierce (I get this feedback about myself from time to time as well, so we’re in the same boat, Shillah!!!). Other than that, the only other thing she could work on is answering her question by adding on a bit of pizzazz, perhaps take a bit of risk to add some colour, as I feel her answers so far have been more on the safe side.

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Surya Rahmanty – She is another one with a very warm and generous smile on her face. The eldest amongst the contestants at twenty-six years of age, her performances so far have been commendable, not too flashy but still having lots of room to improve, most notably on her catwalk. I know it is very uncomfortable having to walk on high heels and trying to look classy at the same time, but I think for a newbie in this modelling aspect of the competition, Surya has not done too shabbily. Her answers have always been well-thought out and she seems assured with herself. I think her biggest strength is being cool and calm in the face of adversity. Surya also has a steely and hidden iron-willed determination about her, which perhaps have kept her soldiering on in the competition. But would it be enough to crown her the winner??? Anything is possible, especially when she is rated as an underdog, and we always have a soft spot for underdogs, don’t we???

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Wan Anisah – Another one who had captured my attention during the Media Conference for her sharp and exotic looks, thanks to her Indian heritage. When I first saw her back then, two words came into my head – “Bollywood Queen“. But really in all seriousness, she does remind me of those beautiful Hindi actresses and will not look out of place if she were to act in a new season of “Cinta Bollywood“. I thought she was a bit quiet in the early weeks of the competition but began to open up more and even tried to crack a joke during the semi-final round, which depending on how you perceived them, was either a decent attempt or a shot on the foot. That attempt proved that she is willing to add variety to her answers and a bit of wit, and for that I cannot penalise her because it showed that she is a trier and risk-taker. Sometimes fortune favours the brave and she was definitely brave enough to attempt that, although it almost backfired on her. I also heard that she is one of those who normally has no problem crafting her answers without the need for any refining or corrections. In that respect, she just needs to maintain her poise and composure.

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Wida Alisa – In terms of educational background and constantly attaining high distinctions for her school examinations, Wida who is doing her Masters in Business Administration, is right up there and an inspiration for our community and younger generation to emulate. Not only has she the beauty, but the brains to back it up as well. When I think of that combustible combination of beauty and brains that Wida possesses, she does remind me of Rita Zahara and Hazlina Halim, two beauties who have graced our television screens as newscasters and television hosts. I’ve said before that she has been quite consistent in the competition without much fanfare, but still getting the job done when it mattered. A very pleasant person to talk to off-stage, what impresses me about Wida, is her humility. She has that natural wit which might bring her places. Winning on Tuesday might just be the passport she needs to realise her potential, if others have not already taken notice by now.

Presenting the six finalists...

So who do I think will win the competition??? Like the previous time I said I did not wish to tempt fate nor jinx the contestants, I will again be non-committal over who I think will win, simply because in a Grand Final of a reality competition, anything can happen. Underdogs can outperform and go beyond expectations when you least expect it. This scenario has happened many times when the likes of Hyrul Anuar, Aliff Aziz and Rahayu Ridwan had won previous Anugerah competitions. Shahril Wahid and Erwin Shah Dawson were also considered underdogs when they won in the 2006 and 2010 editions of Anugerah Skrin. I did say last week that Fatin Amira would win at a canter if the winner was crowned last week, but somehow she showed that she too could make the odd mistake and this happened during the semi-final round when she tripped and stumbled upon her words during the Q&A segment. I think the winner will be crowned based on who keeps her cool and composure that night, making the least errors during the Q&A segments and how she carries herself in whatever outfit she wears. Each finalist has her own strengths and factors that could see them score more points and I hope that this preview of mine could help them one way or another into maximising their potential. To the six finalists, I wish them the very best for this coming Tuesday‘s penultimate episode of Ratu

Konsert Ramuan Rahasia Promo…

KONSERT RAMUAN is a music festival that brings together various Singaporean artistes, performing in solidarity to raise funds for Sanif Olek’s yet-to-be-completed feature film, RAMUAN RAHASIA. A total of 24 bands and solo acts will be sharing stage on Sunday, 19 June 2011 from 11am to 6pm at the Goodman Arts Centre (90, Goodman Road, S439053). Together, fascinating flea market with vendors selling eclectic products will add colour to the event!

KONSERT RAMUAN is only the first of a fundraising project series that hopes to create awareness about the film appeal for funds. Following this concert, a monologue ensemble, entitled MONOLOG RAHASIA, featuring established theatre/TV actors is already in the pipeline.

KONSERT RAMUAN tickets are already on sale @ $10 via Paypal (sanif.olek@gmail.com) and Zax (81137883). Tickets will also be available at the door on the event day at $12. Free entry for children aged 12 years and below.

For those interested to rent a table at the flea market, they may contact Zio at 90214934.

All proceeds from the concert will be channeled to the RAMUAN RAHASIA fund appeal.

ABOUT THE FILM

RAMUAN RAHASIA is a feature film, directed by Sanif Olek that has abruptly stalled since late 2009 due to insufficient funds. To date, only 60% of its filming has been achieved.  The project is now racing to be completed.

 It is an endearing tale of hope blending spicy food, classic Nusantara Malay songs and love into a digestible contemporary platter. It boasts a stellar cast from Dato’ Rahim Razali to Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit, Rafaat Haji Hamzah, Keagan Kang, Aaron Aziz, Sani Hussin, J A Halim and many more.

Principal Cast:

  • Dato’ Rahim Razali
  • Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit
  • Rafaat Hj Hamzah
  • Asnida Daud
  • Keagan Kang

Supporting Cast:

  • Aaron Aziz
  • Marina Yusoff
  • J A Halim
  • Sani Hussin
  • Keatar H M
  • Shah Iskandar
  • Khalid Baboo
  • Aryati Tyeb Papar
  • Nina Halim
  • Aminah Ahmad
  • Hashimah Hamidon
  • Norsiah Ramly
  • Dalina Jaapar
  • Roslan Kemat
  • Abdullah Ahmad
  • Nurul Aini

Original story by Sanif Olek

Screenplay by Gene Sha Rudyn and Sanif Olek

For further details on the concert, please contact Azizah Zakaria at 94248514.

[For more details about the film, please visit www.ramuanrahasia.com]

Charity Football Fiesta 2009…

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Photograph courtesy of Amanah Nusa Indah’s (ANI) official website…

Last Friday night, I was at Woodlands Stadium to witness the inaugural Charity Football Fiesta 2009. This event was organised by Amanah Nusa Indah (ANI) in collaboration with Aide’s Soccer Buddies and was the brainchild of Ezreen Taib Zohri, a.k.a. Mrs Aide Iskandar, her husband as well as our Asian Idol, Hady Mirza. It is a noble effort aimed at benefitting our local Muslim charity organisations, through entertainment and football, two industry professions that are quite synonymous to our local Malay community and where we usually excel in. At the same time, it aimed to create a culture of giving and sharing amongst the community, especially the young.

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Huda Ali and Luqman Nurhakim introducing the two teams…

The following Muslim charity organisations are the proud beneficiaries of the proceeds to the event and this I quote courtesy of ANI‘s official website:

  • Jamiyah Nursing Home – Darul Takrim
  • Jamiyah Children Home/Orphanage – Darul Ma’wa
  • Jamiyah Halfway House – Darul Isla
  • Muhammadiyah Health and Day Care Centre for Senior Citizens,
  • Muhammadiyah Welfare Home,
  • Muslim Kidney Action Association
  • Taman Bacaan Female Halfway House
  • Taman Bacaan – Malay Youth Library Association
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    Fandi’s team lining up before the match started…

    When the promotional posters first came about, I thought that it was quite a decent programme to organise since it has been awhile since we had such an event, the last I think was done when our Channel 8 stars played a similar kind of match against their Hong Kong counterparts at the National Stadium more than a decade ago. Seeing one name on the list of players to grace the occasion made me confirmed my attendance there and then, my uncle, the legendary “Gelek King” – Dollah Kassim. The last I saw him in action was when our ex-internationals played against their Malaysian counterparts back in 2007 during the carnival that was supposed to mark the end of our National Stadium. We all know what happened to those plans, unless you have been living on a different planet.

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    This indirect free-kick in the penalty box came about because Haikel handled a backpass from his own defender…

    I tried to gather a few friends to join me but perhaps the day and the time was a turn-off, since it was still technically on a week day. In the end, I decided to join up with the rest of my family members who were there to support my uncle and the event. The location (Woodlands Stadium) too could have been another factor as to why they might not have been keen on going as it was all the way up north of the island. This was quite evident when we stepped into the stadium to find that those with gallery tickets being shunted to the opposite ends of the grandstand. Obviously the grandstand tickets were not that popular judging by the almost empty tiers in the middle, resulting in them being opened up for those who were sitting at the opposite ends to come in and fill the empty spaces.

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    Tepak Sireh dancers performing during the half-time break…

    Which brings me to the factor of the pricing of tickets. While $12 (gallery) and $20 (grandstand) were set as the prices of the tickets, I honestly believe psychologically it is kinda steep for most of those in attendance, especially the latter. Personally I thought it was a fair price to pay to see good entertainment on and off the pitch with proceeds of course going to charity. I think this mindset of watching free / cheap shows should end and I strongly believe this is the result of having too many quarterly exhibitions at Singapore Expo whereby you go there to watch free entertainment that comes together with it, because you either enter for free or pay an entrance fee of not more than $2. Either way the prices of the tickets could have been slightly lower say $10 and $15 for the gallery and grandstand respectively. In this hard economic times, a little prudence would go a long way in attracting more people to come and support such an event.

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    Team Malek Awab enjoying their breather…

    We reached the stadium slightly close to 7pm and waited for Uncle Dollah to appear from the dressing room to pass our tickets to us. No, we did not get complimentary tickets / passes, we still paid for them. If we had complimentary tickets / passes, we would have sat somewhere in the middle, along with the other invited guests. No one can say we did not do our part to support the event, even if we paid for gallery tickets. I managed to exchange pleasantries with Kak Fatimah Mohsin who was standing nearby. She was responsible for doing the make up for female artistes like Huda Ali that night. Then on, we made our way to the left side of the stadium. However, I think that particular section of the stadium was almost full, so the rest decided to go to the other side instead.

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    Fuad Rahman performing his hit song “Bayu“…

    As there was a tent set up for people to do their evening responsibilities at that section of the stadium, I told the rest to move on whilst I join them after I had observed mine. I managed to say “Hi” to people I know sitting there, albeit fleetingly and some with just a mere wave. Many apologies for not going over to you to have small talk as I did not want to have to clamour for a space in that small tent. The availability and erection of this tent is very much applaudable to the organisers. Even better was the decision to extend the kick-off time from 7:30pm to 7:45pm bearing in mind that Maghrib that day was 7:21pm. Even though a tent had been set up, there were still those that turned a blind eye to it. It’s ok if you were PMS-ing, but the guys out there, what excuse do you have???

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    A distinguished guest who came all the way from Kuala Lumpur, Mr Afdlin Shauki

    I made my way to the other side of the stadium to join up with the rest of the family members, in time for the middle tier sections to open up and allowing us to fill in the empty spaces. We sat close to the middle but our view was quite hampered by the lighting system and props that were supposed to illuminate the stage in the middle of the track. Not long after, the emcees of the night, Luqman Nurhakim and Huda Ali, introduced the two teams, Team Malek Awab in yellow and Team Fandi Ahmad in red. Once the customary introductions were made, the game kicked off in earnest.

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    Hyrul Anuar performing “Tanda Kasih“, his latest single…

    I don’t really have to relate the whole game minute-by-minute, but it is sufficed to say that those of you who did not turn up missed a a great game, full of controversial moments if it was a FIFA-sanctioned match and comedy, orchaestrated by none other than Sheikh Haikel who was playing for Fandi‘s team. Initially we thought that the celebrities would be playing against the ex-internationals but somehow they mixed around so that we would get a level playing field on the pitch. Such a move was laudable given the fact that if the earlier expectations had been materialised, there was a possibility of a cricket scoreline in favour of the ex-internationals, with all due respect to the celebrities on the pitch.

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    Silat performance by Persatuan Silat Singapura (Persisi) exponents…

    Fandi‘s team started well and it was a surprise that Sheikh Haikel got himself on the scoresheet, even if it has to be said that the opposing goalkeeper David Lee dived half-heartedly to save the former’s shot. As someone who plays in goal and has been playing in that position since secondary 1, I know when a save is made instinctively or when you try to make your opponent look good. But it was all in the name of fun of course and I’m sure it was never an issue but David could have acted a bit better given the experience he has. Not long after, Uncle Dollah equalised for his team, a goal reminiscent of his playing days. Twisting and turning as only he knows best against two defenders and opposing goalkeeper Rezal Hassan, all he needed to do was tap into the empty net once the deed was done. Naturally my family members and me erupted with joy.

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    I did not pay much attention to the remainder of the first half henceforth even though Shahrin Azhar (did I get the scorer right???) and Hady Mirza scored for Fandi‘s team to make it 3-1 in their favour, before Uncle Dollah was brought down in the penalty box which Syed Azmir gleefully took the penalty to score and made it 3-2. Syed Azmir impressed me with his direct running and his tendency to shoot on sight. He treated the game very seriously as was evident when he gave the assistant referee a dressing down for catching him offside, which from where I sat, I could see that he was definitely so as he was at least a metre away from the last defender. The half also saw Sheikh Haikel taking over goalkeeping duties from Rezal Hassan as their team did not have a replacement goalkeeper and again even in goal, he showed that the comedian in him would not let up. It was apparent that due to the tight programme, they only played half an hour each half.

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    One of the comedic moments in the match, Sheikh Haikel going down “injured”. Just look at the grins on the faces of the paramedics…

    After the excitement of the first half, the half time was a bit of an anti-climax with performances by Tepak Sireh Dancers, Fuad Rahman (Bayu), Hyrul Anuar (Tanda Kasih) and silat exponents from Persatuan Silat Singapura (Persisi). Why I said it was an anti-climax was because the performances were a bit draggy especially the dance and silat items. I was quite ok with the singing performances though. Once your adrenaline had been pumped up, it kinda crashed down just waiting for the second half to start. I remembered telling my cousin Ezaad during half-time, that at the rate the game was going, I would not be surprised that the full time would end up 6-6. Since my view was blocked from where we sat to appreciate the game, I decided to make my way to the other side of the stadium where the open gallery seats were.

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    The one minute silence in memory of Allahyarham Borhan Abu Samah

    As I was making my way there, they held a one minute silence to remember one of their stalwarts and comrades, a loyal servant to the nation in his prime with his uncompromising tackles, the late Borhan Abu Samah, who passed away on 29 Oct 1999. Goodness, it’s been almost a decade since he left us. Out of respect, I stood on the track and said my prayers for his departed soul. The only thing I was not too happy about was the crowd was not made to stand and observed the silence as well like those you normally watch on television and for the fact that this should have been done before the match started instead of before the start of the second half. Another thing that the organisers would do well to improve on for future events is to get a FIFA-sanctioned referee for the game cos according to my uncle, this guy knew nuts about how such a thing like observing a one minute’s silence should be done. How can you call yourself a referee when you don’t even know a basic thing like blowing the whistle to signal the start of the silence and when the one minute is up on your watch, you just need to blow again to signal its end??? It was no wonder Roslan Kemat gave him a red card for allowing Fandi‘s team a goal even though they were playing with 12 men on the pitch in the second half. Diabolical to say the least…

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    This photograph I took became a source of controversy when two officials came over to me to say I was not allowed to take photographs by the pitchside or behind the goalpost. But kudos to Aaron for gamely posing for the cameras…

    Anyway I didn’t know that this event was very exclusive. A case in point was when I was making my way to the other side of the stadium. Aaron Aziz who had replaced David Lee ambled up to the goalpost where I was walking behind. I did not want to let the opportunity pass me by so I asked him to pose for me and he gamely did. Not long after I was trailed by two officials, one of them in a spiffy suit and they asked me whether I was an ANI photographer. I said no, I was just making my way to the other side of the stadium and they told me off about taking photographs just behind the pitch. I could have debated and kicked up a fuss but I thought it would only worsened matters knowing the acid tongue that I have. It’s a charity event for Heaven’s sake, why was there a need to have sanctions imposed on taking photographs??? It’s not that I’m gonna sell the photos I took for a fortune. Sheesh. I did not expect those officials to be so anal about it.

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    The players waiting for the second half to begin…

    The second half began from where it left off, with the humour elements intensifying as the minutes ticked by. Sheikh Haikel scored again and made it 4-2 to his team before Aaron himself stepped up to score from the spot when his team got themselves another penalty. Fandi was doing his best to entertain the crowd with his trademark acrobatics and diving headers but he could not find the target with them. I was too mesmerised by them till I did not get the chance to capture those shots of him doing those flamboyant moves. He got himself on the scoresheet and made it 5-3 before Taufik Salleh and Roslan Kemat (did I get the scorer right???) made it all square again. R. Sasikumar put Fandi‘s team ahead again with a header but the match ended 6-6 as I had predicted during half-time, when Saswadimata Dasuki scored from long range. In between, Fandi even took the time to play rugby by hiding the ball under his jersey and running towards goal before “scoring”. Naturally the “goal” was invalid.

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    Fandi Ahmad celebrating scoring his team’s fifth goal with a cartwheel…

    We then went to a mandatory penalty shootout to get the outright winners. If I’m not wrong, Malek‘s team won the shootout or did it end all-square??? I was unsure as I was not paying attention to it since I was trying to figure out how to take photographs of what was happening on the pitch. Anyway, who won did not matter much. What was most important was everyone came away a winner that night, either by contributing in cash to the charitable causes or by contributing to the success of the event, on the pitch or on stage. And best of all it was heartening to see players of yesteryears coming together like the good old Malaysia Cup days. Seeing them all on the pitch brought me back in time and I felt as though I was back in secondary school again.

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    Aaron relaxing while the action was at the opposite end of the pitch…

    The night did not end there. Imran Ajmain came on to sing his current hit across the CausewaySelamat Ulang Tahun Sayang” and this was followed by Syed Azmir singing Letto‘s “Permintaan Hati” and then paying a tribute to Fandi Ahmad by singing the latter’s old hit “Anugerah” from the album of the same title that he recorded years ago. They were joined on stage by the other players who danced and sang along. Something “possessed” our legendary number 17 and he broke into a silat routine on stage during the song’s bridge. He even dragged my uncle who was standing behind to come forward and danced with him. The night ended with a punchy performance, as usual, by Ahli Fiqir, who welcomed back Mawar Berduri into the fold fresh from her maternity leave. They sang “Dol & Minah” and “2 X 5“.

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    Sheikh Haikel stepping up to take one of the penalty kicks during the shootout…

    We left the stadium close to 10:30pm and waited for Uncle Dollah to appear from the dressing room. There was a sizeable crowd waiting to take photographs with the celebrities and ex-internationals. I managed to grab hold of Afdlin and take a photograph with him and wished him all the best with his future projects. Once Uncle Dollah appeared, we left the stadium for Jalan Kayu to have dinner. He did not join the rest for their satay session at Lau Pa Sat. As I was about to move off, Malek Awab came over and waved us goodbye. He had parked his car next to mine. He’s always been affable and friendly and always had that toothy grin on him. One of the nicest guys to have played for the national team.

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    Imran Ajmain serenaded the crowd while the players had a group photo in the background…

    It was a laudable effort to organise such an event. I take my hats off to the organisers for doing up this event which I feel should be done on an annual basis. Granted this was their first time doing this and not all things were expected to have gone smooth sailing. Perhaps they could use this experience to improve on future events. Where certain things could be cut down and lessened or added for that matter, we could then perhaps enjoy it a little more and expect more bums on the seats. Oh and a central location like Bishan or Toa Payoh would be very nice as well.

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    Uncle Dollah receiving his memento from R. Vengadasalam, former manager of Woodlands Wellington Football Club

    For the record the players who played for Malek Awab‘s team were (according to jersey numbers):

    0 – Aaron Aziz, 1- David Lee, 2 – Syarif (Sleeq), 3 – Taufik Salleh, 5 – Aide Iskandar, 6 – Razali Saad, 7 – Tokijan Darimosuvito, 8 – Roslan Kemat, 9 – Nahar Daud, 10 – Dollah Kassim, 11 – Othman Abdullah (D’ Episodes). 12 – Malek Awab, 14 – Azhar Nor Lesta, 15 – Nazri Nasir, 17 – Mohd Rafi Ali, 18 – Khairudin Samsudin, 19 – Saswadimata Dasuki, 21 – Fuzzley (B8), 23 – Syed Azmir.

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    Syed Azmir and Fandi singing “Anugerah“, Fandi‘s hit song in the 90s…

    As for Fandi‘s team, this was their squad:

    1 – Rezal Hassan, 2 – Hasli Ibrahim, 3 – Daly (Ahli Fiqir), 4 – Elfee R. Ismail, 5 – Samad Allapitchay, 6 – Shahrin Azhar Mohd, 7 – Samawira Basri, 8 – Yahya Madon, 9 – Ishamuddin Baroocha, 10 – Sheikh Haikel, 11 – Azhar Baksin, 12 – J. A. Halim, 13 – R. Sasikumar, 15 – Rudy Khairon Daiman, 16 – Hady Mirza, 17 – Fandi Ahmad, 18 – Hasnim Haron.

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    Fandi breaking into a silat routine, much to the amusement of the players on stage…

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    He followed that up by dragging Uncle Dollah to dance with him…

    Apologies if I had missed out on anyone or if I had their jersey numbers labelled wrongly or even spelt their names wrongly. And also for the record, this Charity Football Fiesta 2009 was organised by Amanah Nusa Indah and Aide’s Soccer Buddies. They were ably supported by the following organisations: Response Ambulance & Services, The Cage, O’ lando Jamming Studio, Bukit Batok MAEC, Le Standard, NILAM – Strategic Land Investments, Chateau – Sip of Fortune and Red Carpet Productions Pte Ltd.

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    Mawar Berduri & Daly singing “Dol & Minah“, the soundtrack of the series from the same title…

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    Samsol a.k.a. Tukang Kata then joined them on stage for “2 X 5“…

    MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE NEXT YEAR!!!