Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Predictions

Ever since Anugerah 2011 ended, this blog has since quietened down with no entries to show for, when I had an entry or two published almost every week during the period of competition. This blog will continue to be quiet as it embarks on its annual hiatus come the months of Ramadan and Syawal. But before it goes into its traditional hibernation mode, let me just fill the spaces of this domain with my own predictions on the possible winners of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011, which makes its long-awaited return on Friday night at Singapore Expo‘s Max Pavilion. Yes, the regional awards show is finally coming home and I am so looking forward to it, moreso as this year will be the first time I will be attending the event as part of the media brigade. So out of sheer boredom and something to anticipate the event, I present to you my own personal picks for the various awards up for grabs. My picks will be the ones I highlighted. Disclaimer: This is just for fun so don’t sue me if I get it wrong in the end…


Aris – 1000 X Maaf

Febrian – Cinta Itu Gila

Igo – Kemenangan Cinta

Sandhy Sondoro – Bunga Mimpi

Sezaire Sezali – Matahari


Aisya Hasnaa – Lagu Mahu Kamu

Amanda Imani – Selamilah Cinta

Ana Raffali – Tolong Ingatkan Aku

Mytha – Seperti Yang Kau Minta

Roze Kasmani – Harum


Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Kalau Berpacaran

Azlan & The Typewriter – Kelibat Si Penyair

Govinda – Bawa Aku Lari

Projek Pistol – Wanita Seluruh Dunia

Zivilia – Aishiteru


Amarah – Siti Nurhaliza & Kris Dayanti – Composer: Audi Mok, Lyricist: Siti Nurhaliza

Berteman Rindu – Didicazli & Giselle – Composer: Didicazli, Lyricist: Didicazli

Harus Bagaimana – Atilia & Maliq & d’Essentials – Composer: Widi Puradiredja, Lyricist: Widi Puradiredja

Kalau Cinta – Aliff Aziz & Joanna – Composer: Panji, Lyricist: Panji

Sayang – Dayang Nurfaizah & Marcell – Composer: Omar K, Lyricist: Nuur Iman


Faizal Tahir – Adrenalin

Glenn Fredly – Lovevolution

Hady Mirza – Sang Penyanyi

Hafiz – Masih Jelas

Judika – Setengah Mati Merindu


Agnes Monica – Sacredly Agnezious

Ana Raffali – Ketika Aku Kecil

Astrid – Lihat Aku Sekarang

Rossa – Harmoni Jalinan Nada & Cerita

Sarah Aqilah – Sarah Aqilah


Andra & The Backbone – Love, Faith & Hope

D’Masiv – Perjalanan

Kotak – Energi

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – 3 Suara

6ixth Sense – + – x /

Ungu – 1000 Kisah 1 Hati


Cari Jodoh – Wali – Producer: Sujana

CTKD – Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti – Producers: Aubrey Suwito, Audi Mok, Charly ST12, Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti

Energi – Kotak – Producer: Pay BIP

Ketika Aku Kecil – Ana Raffali – Producer: Aidit Alfian

Sang Penyanyi – Hady Mirza – Producer: Hady Mirza

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – Producers: Irwan Simanjuntak, Paul Morrison, Kevin Chin & Aylwin Santiago


Harum – Roze Kasmani – Composers: Imran Ajmain & Alyph SleeQ, Lyricist: Shah Shamsiri

Ku Tetap Kan Menunggu – Hady Mirza – Composer: Hady Mirza, Lyricist: Hady Mirza

Lagu Teman – The Lion Story Feat. Zahidah – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman

Maafkan Ku (Oh Cinta) – Faizal Isa – Composer: Janz Abdullah, Lyricists: Aina Azizi & Khairul Anwar

Matahari – Sezaire Sezali – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman


Awan Nano – Hafiz – Composer: M Nasir, Lyricist: Buddhi Hekayat

Hanyut – Faizal Tahir – Composers: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir, Lyricists: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir

Kalau Berpacaran – Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Composer: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Lyricists: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Ana Raffali & Altimet

Kekanda Adinda – Atilia & MonoloQue – Composer: LoQue, Lyricist: LoQue

Noktah Cinta – Hafiz – Composer: Ajai, Lyricist: Sheikh Qalam


Cari Jodoh – Wali – Composer: Apoy, Lyricist: Apoy

Cintailah Aku Sepenuh Hati – Ari Lasso – Composers: Sandy Canester & Pay BIP, Lyricist: Ari Lasso

Karena Ku Cinta Kau – Bunga Citra Lestari – Composer: Dewiq, Lyricist: Dewiq

Pelan-Pelan Saja – Kotak – Composers: Pay BIP & Kotak, Lyricist: Dewiq

Rindu 1/2 Mati – D’Masiv – Composer: Rian d’Masiv, Lyricist: Rian d’Masiv


SG1 Aliff Aziz

SG2 Didicazli

SG3 Diorama

SG4 Dynda

SG5 Faizal Isa

SG6 Farhan Shah

SG7 Fauzie Laily

SG8 Hady Mirza

SG9 Hyrul Anuar

SG10 Imran Ajmain

SG11 Rancour

SG12 Revalina

SG13 Roze Kasmani

SG14 Sarah Aqilah

SG15 Sezaire Sezali

SG16 SleeQ

SG17 Syed Azmir

SG18 Taufik Batisah

SG19 The Lion Story

SG20 The Sallys


LP1 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LP2 Biar Hati Mencintai: Sarah Aqilah

LP3 Dunia Yang Fana: Zaibaktian

LP4 Harum: Roze

LP5 Hingga Ke Akhir: Urban Sensation Feat. Rauzan

LP6 Janji: Tujuh

LP7 Kali Pertama: Chosen One

LP8 Kesuma Jiwa: Boy Raven Feat. Man Toyak

LP9 Maafkanku (Oh Cinta): Faizal Isa

LP10 Matahari: Sezaire Sezali

LP11 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LP12 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah


AS1 Afgan

AS2 Agnes Monica

AS3 Aliff Aziz

AS4 Faizal Tahir

AS5 Hady Mirza

AS6 Hujan

AS7 Rossa

AS8 Siti Nurhaliza

AS9 Taufik Batisah

AS10 Ungu

AS11 Wali

AS12 Yuna


LS1 Aishiteru: Zivilia

LS2 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LS3 Baik-Baik Sayang: Wali

LS4 Berteman Rindu: Didicazli & Giselle

LS5 Cerita Kedai Kopi: Malique Feat. Salam

LS6 Join Kopi: Blackout

LS7 Khatimah Cinta: 6ixth Sense

LS8 Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang: Alyah Feat. Riz AF

LS9 Masih Di Sini Masih Denganmu: Goliath

LS10 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LS11 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah

LS12 Tinggal Kenangan: Saleem

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Press Conference…

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Radio)

After a break of two years, Anugerah Planet Muzik makes its long-awaited return to our shores. The last time the premier regional awards show was held in Singapore was in 2007, when the Singapore Indoor Stadium played host to honour the best in the region’s music industry. Long-time readers of this blog would note that I’m very much a regular attendee of this event, in fact I have been going to each and every single one from 2001-2008, except for the last one when it was first held in Jakarta in 2009, due to my favourite team, Manchester United playing  a pre-season friendly with the Malaysian team in Kuala Lumpur on the same day of the event. I think had the team not played there, I would have made the trip as well, but you don’t get to meet your favourite team in the flesh that often unless you’re residing over there. The event returns this year and will be held at the Max Pavilion Singapore Expo on 15 July 2011 at 8:30pm. The last time this event was held there was in 2006.

This year marks a special milestone for me with regards to this event, as this was the first time I received a personal invitation to attend the press conference to announce the final nominees of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011. This was possible thanks to the good people at RIA 89.7FM and Warna 94.2FM, the organisers of this prestigious awards show, most notably the producer herself, Aura Shai. I felt honoured to be a part of the media brigade, being possibly the only local entertainment blogger at the event. Though I have attended several media conferences before this, somehow attending this particular one gave me goosebumps and a nervous feeling, probably sharing the same feelings being felt by the local artistes who came to grace the event.

This media conference, which was held last Wednesday 8 June 2011 at 3pm, was unlike the one that was held concurrently in Kuala Lumpur. Based on news reports and photographs I’ve managed to see, that event was held at the Hard Rock Cafe. Here in Singapore it was held at the humble surroundings of the multi-purpose room at Caldecott Broadcast Centre. Some might wonder about the exclusivity of the event venues of both countries, but to me and to most people who attended, I think the venue is quite secondary. What was paramount in the minds of those who came were who made it to the final reckoning, bearing in mind that they were up against artistes and production teams of higher standards and quality from our regional counterparts.

These are the coveted trophies to be won on the night…

During the media conference itself, we were introduced to the hosts of this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik, none other than Adi Rahman and Fiza O of RIA 89.7FM, no strangers themselves to hosting the same awards show in the past. I could have missed out on this piece of information during the event, but I found out much later that both hosts that I had mentioned earlier, will be joined by Malaysia‘s Didie Alias, a first for the lady who has earned the reputation of being our neighbour’s very own Lady Gaga. I had expected the usual suspects like Sarah Sechan and Aznil Nawawi to return, but apparently I think the organisers wanted a fresher outlook, hence the choice of Didie, no slouch herself from what I had seen when she hosted Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian as recently as a few months ago. I can’t wait to see Adi reprise his role as the perennial “bully” and see how he spars with Didie on stage. Maybe Fiza could also play the “baddie” this time round, we shall see.

Two of the three hosts of APM2011: Adi Rahman and Fiza O

Before the event kicked off in earnest, we were all treated to a special video presentation of past Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) events. Looking at some of the footages, especially those that were circa 2007-2009, brought back a lot of fond memories, even if some of them had not exactly been spectacular by standards, but still each and every single APM had its share of story to tell and memory etched to it. This year being its tenth year in existence, the event has come a long way in its progress, having gone through a lot of ups and downs. I would like to think that this year will be a good one and I have strong vibes about it, just by looking at the line-up of stars slated to perform at this year’s show. Just to refresh your memories in case you have forgotten what went on for the past nine APMs, I’ve managed to record the short yet entertaining video presentation courtesy of the organisers:

I will not describe in detail what the organising committee panel which comprised of Ms. Zakiah HalimVice-President of Malay, Indian & Expatriate Programming (Radio), Mr. Hassan Salleh, Senior Programme Director of RIA 89.7FM and the producer of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 herself, Aura Shai had shared during the media conference. However, just to summarise, Singapore contributed 129 nominations of the 523 that they received in total from the three participating countries, one of the most since its inception. This was a marked increase when compared to only 48 nominations being put forward from Singapore back in 2009. While the number is very much heartening by standards, this rise in the submission of nominations could also be partly attributed to the fact that there was a void last year when APM was not organised. Nonetheless the numbers have proven that Singapore is capable of producing good talents and also good musical compositions from our local acts. Indeed over the years, with APM‘s existence, it has paved the way for more acts to come forward.

The panel consisting of Mr. Hassan Salleh, Ms. Zakiah Halim and Aura Shai

Of course when it comes to quantity, there might not always be an equal nor substitute in quality. This was reiterated by Ms. Zakiah that some, if not most of our local acts, still lag behind in terms of song production quality. However, as organisers, they have to maintain the quality that has been set and that we have to accept the fact that the other two countries are miles ahead especially with strong backing from sponsors, unlike our music industry. She said that even though radio do not have all the answers to the problems being faced by our local talents, she would not mind working closely with all parties to find feasible solutions that could help the industry grow. As a radio listener, I agree with her that radio has done its part in promoting local music, contrary to complaints that radio do not support local acts enough. Look at RIA Chartz to see the number of local songs in the list and listen to the radio station every day and you will note that there are at least four local songs being played every hour, if not more. At one point of time, the Top 10 songs in RIA Chartz were all local songs, a significant increase in the listeners’ preference for local music. To listen to what Ms. Zakiah had to say, I’ve recorded her speech for your viewing pleasure:

The final list of nominees certainly threw up several surprises as well as names which most of us have not heard of on our shores and most likely in the other two countries as well. But as a Singaporean, I am extremely proud of our local acts who have been nominated along with others from the region. It shows that we have made good progress and that we can be pleased to have artistes of a standard which is on par with our regional counterparts. However, I do feel a bit confused with some of the categories like for instance, why was Sarah Aqilah nominated in the Best Vocal (Female) Category and not Best Vocal (New Female Artiste) Category since she is considered new in the scene. There was also a slight tweak in the Best Collaboration Category. Previously, this category allows acts from the same country to collaborate with one another. This time, in the spirit of regional unity, they have changed the rule and set the category such that acts from different countries (for instance, Singapore and Malaysia) must collaborate and then send in their nominations. I had high hopes for our local rap duo, Komrad, who had recorded singles with Malaysia‘s Zain Hamid, Malique and DJ Salam before, but they were not in the final list. This new rule somehow increases the prospects of our local acts to get nominated in future.

SleeQ listening attentively to the speech…

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all local acts who have made it into the final list. I think they know and they are realistic enough to understand that to get into the final list is already a huge achievement. Anything more would be a bonus. To the rest who have not made it, please do not lose heart and to continue producing good music and who knows, even if you do not get your recognition in a regional show like APM, your works and compositions might be honoured when the next AnugeraHitz.SG show comes around. Before I end this entry, I’ll present to you the final list of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 with Singaporean nominees marked in red as well as the slated performers who will grace the event. Just to note that the Lagu Terbaik / Best Song and Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik / Planet Music Special Awards are not listed but will be made known on the night itself. For more details on how to vote in the popular categories, please refer to details at the official Anugerah Planet Muzik Facebook page. This year will be the first that you will be able to vote via Internet so do keep a lookout for it…

Haramain Osman (centre) could be pleased that he has three nominations to his name and group (The Lion Story)…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 List of Nominees


Aris – 1000 X Maaf

Febrian – Cinta Itu Gila

Igo – Kemenangan Cinta

Sandhy Sondoro – Bunga Mimpi

Sezaire Sezali – Matahari


Aisya Hasnaa – Lagu Mahu Kamu

Amanda Imani – Selamilah Cinta

Ana Raffali – Tolong Ingatkan Aku

Mytha – Seperti Yang Kau Minta

Roze Kasmani – Harum


Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Kalau Berpacaran

Azlan & The Typewriter – Kelibat Si Penyair

Govinda – Bawa Aku Lari

Projek Pistol – Wanita Seluruh Dunia

Zivilia – Aishiteru


Amarah – Siti Nurhaliza & Kris Dayanti – Composer: Audi Mok, Lyricist: Siti Nurhaliza

Berteman Rindu – Didicazli & Giselle – Composer: Didicazli, Lyricist: Didicazli

Harus Bagaimana – Atilia & Maliq & d’Essentials – Composer: Widi Puradiredja, Lyricist: Widi Puradiredja

Kalau Cinta – Aliff Aziz & Joanna – Composer: Panji, Lyricist: Panji

Sayang – Dayang Nurfaizah & Marcell – Composer: Omar K, Lyricist: Nuur Iman


Faizal Tahir – Adrenalin

Glenn Fredly – Lovevolution

Hady Mirza – Sang Penyanyi

Hafiz – Masih Jelas

Judika – Setengah Mati Merindu


Agnes Monica – Sacredly Agnezious

Ana Raffali – Ketika Aku Kecil

Astrid – Lihat Aku Sekarang

Rossa – Harmoni Jalinan Nada & Cerita

Sarah Aqilah – Sarah Aqilah


Andra & The Backbone – Love, Faith & Hope

D’Masiv – Perjalanan

Kotak – Energi

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – 3 Suara

6ixth Sense – + – x /

Ungu – 1000 Kisah 1 Hati


Cari Jodoh – Wali – Producer: Sujana

CTKD – Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti – Producers: Aubrey Suwito, Audi Mok, Charly ST12, Siti Nurhaliza & KrisDayanti

Energi – Kotak – Producer: Pay BIP

Ketika Aku Kecil – Ana Raffali – Producer: Aidit Alfian

Sang Penyanyi – Hady Mirza – Producer: Hady Mirza

3 Suara – Jaclyn, Ning & Shila – Producers: Irwan Simanjuntak, Paul Morrison, Kevin Chin & Aylwin Santiago


Harum – Roze Kasmani – Composers: Imran Ajmain & Alyph SleeQ, Lyricist: Shah Shamsiri

Ku Tetap Kan Menunggu – Hady Mirza – Composer: Hady Mirza, Lyricist: Hady Mirza

Lagu Teman – The Lion Story Feat. Zahidah – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman

Maafkan Ku (Oh Cinta) – Faizal Isa – Composer: Janz Abdullah, Lyricists: Aina Azizi & Khairul Anwar

Matahari – Sezaire Sezali – Composer: Haramain Osman, Lyricist: Haramain Osman


Awan Nano – Hafiz – Composer: M Nasir, Lyricist: Buddhi Hekayat

Hanyut – Faizal Tahir – Composers: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir, Lyricists: Audi Mok & Faizal Tahir

Kalau Berpacaran – Ana Raffali, Sohaimi Meor Hassan & Altimet – Composer: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Lyricists: Sohaimi Meor Hassan, Ana Raffali & Altimet

Kekanda Adinda – Atilia & MonoloQue – Composer: LoQue, Lyricist: LoQue

Noktah Cinta – Hafiz – Composer: Ajai, Lyricist: Sheikh Qalam


Cari Jodoh – Wali – Composer: Apoy, Lyricist: Apoy

Cintailah Aku Sepenuh Hati – Ari Lasso – Composers: Sandy Canester & Pay BIP, Lyricist: Ari Lasso

Karena Ku Cinta Kau – Bunga Citra Lestari – Composer: Dewiq, Lyricist: Dewiq

Pelan-Pelan Saja – Kotak – Composers: Pay BIP & Kotak, Lyricist: Dewiq

Rindu 1/2 Mati – D’Masiv – Composer: Rian d’Masiv, Lyricist: Rian d’Masiv


SG1 Aliff Aziz

SG2 Didicazli

SG3 Diorama

SG4 Dynda

SG5 Faizal Isa

SG6 Farhan Shah

SG7 Fauzie Laily

SG8 Hady Mirza

SG9 Hyrul Anuar

SG10 Imran Ajmain

SG11 Rancour

SG12 Revalina

SG13 Roze Kasmani

SG14 Sarah Aqilah

SG15 Sezaire Sezali

SG16 SleeQ

SG17 Syed Azmir

SG18 Taufik Batisah

SG19 The Lion Story

SG20 The Sallys


LP1 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LP2 Biar Hati Mencintai: Sarah Aqilah

LP3 Dunia Yang Fana: Zaibaktian

LP4 Harum: Roze

LP5 Hingga Ke Akhir: Urban Sensation Feat. Rauzan

LP6 Janji: Tujuh

LP7 Kali Pertama: Chosen One

LP8 Kesuma Jiwa: Boy Raven Feat. Man Toyak

LP9 Maafkanku (Oh Cinta): Faizal Isa

LP10 Matahari: Sezaire Sezali

LP11 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LP12 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah


AS1 Afgan

AS2 Agnes Monica

AS3 Aliff Aziz

AS4 Faizal Tahir

AS5 Hady Mirza

AS6 Hujan

AS7 Rossa

AS8 Siti Nurhaliza

AS9 Taufik Batisah

AS10 Ungu

AS11 Wali

AS12 Yuna


LS1 Aishiteru: Zivilia

LS2 Angkasa: Hady Mirza

LS3 Baik-Baik Sayang: Wali

LS4 Berteman Rindu: Didicazli & Giselle

LS5 Cerita Kedai Kopi: Malique Feat. Salam

LS6 Join Kopi: Blackout

LS7 Khatimah Cinta: 6ixth Sense

LS8 Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang: Alyah Feat. Riz AF

LS9 Masih Di Sini Masih Denganmu: Goliath

LS10 Menanti Cintamu: Revalina

LS11 Tiada Dua: Taufik Batisah

LS12 Tinggal Kenangan: Saleem

The local artistes who came to grace the media conference…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Performing Acts

Indonesia – Melly Goeslaw, Sandhy Sandoro, Afgan, Rossa, Aryan Band

Malaysia – Atilia & Monoloque, Amanda Imani, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Dato’ M. Nasir, Shila Amzah, Ning Baizura, Jaclyn Victor, Ana Raffali, Hafiz, Faizal Tahir

Singapore – Hady Mirza, Sezaire Sezali, SleeQ, Taufik Batisah, Rahayu Ridwan, Sarah Aqilah, Bloco Singapura & Orkestar Trio

Award Presenters: Linda Onn

The list of performing acts and award presenters are by no means the end and more names will be confirmed later…

Details on how to get your tickets to Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011..

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 – Nomination Forms

1. Nominations are open to songs/singles/EP and albums that were released in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia from 1 Dec 2009 to 31 December 2010.

2. All Recording Companies and Production Houses are entitled to make nominations.

3. Each nomination for each category must be accompanied by one (1) Nomination Form and Compact Disc, Video (if applicable), Artiste’s biodata and photograph.

4. Each nomination (from SINGAPORE) is to be accompanied by Crossed Cheque amounting to Singapore Dollars Twenty only (S$20), made payable to MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Cheque must be able to be cleared in Singapore directly.

5. Each nomination (from MALAYSIA) is to be accompanied by Crossed Cheque amounting to Malaysian Ringgit Fifty only (RM$50), made payable to Beyond Events Sdn Bhd. Cheque must be able to be cleared in Malaysia directly.

6. The Recording Company will be fully responsible in determining the correct and suitable category for each nomination.  Any entry found to contain incorrect information or not accompanied by the requested information will be disqualified. The nomination fee will be non-refundable upon disqualification.

7. Nominations will be subjected to a round of judging by a panel of distinguished judges from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

8. The criteria for judging are set out in the attached terms and conditions.  The decisions of the judges are final and conclusive.

9. The closing date/time for nominations/entries is Monday, 25 April 2011 at 5 pm. Nominations should be forwarded to the following address :


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011

MediaCorp Pte Ltd, Radio

Ria 89.7 FM, Radio Building, 3rd Floor

Caldecott Broadcast Centre

Andrew Road

Singapore 299939

Any enquiries or requests for nomination forms should be directed to Aura Shai.

E-mail :

Tel:   (65) 6359 7382       Fax :  (65) 6359 7500


P.S. Thank you to Aura Shai for letting me share this piece of information… Post-Event Reception…

This entry is gonna be shorter than the previous one. I did say that another filler was in store and so here it is, albeit it’s just another filler before the main one which I’m taking ages to type. Surprisingly I did not take as much photographs during the post-event reception, partly because I was extremely famished, partly because I was mingling around and chatting with the who’s who of our local Malay music scene and also due to the fact that I could not get hold of the winners as they were completely swarmed with photo-taking with the other guests and doing interviews with the various media representatives. Wished I could have taken photographs of them posing with their respective trophies. Oh well, another day, another event perhaps, God willing. In the meantime, enjoy the few photographs I took of the post-event reception…

The guests tucking in the lavish spread…

Anugerah 2009 judge Eddy Ali, being flanked by two of the back-up singers that night, Afiqah (extreme left) and Nani Sulaiman (right). To his right is up-and-coming actress Lydia Izzati

Singapore Idol 2009 teen heart-throbs Faizal Isa & Farhan Shah. Both are under the Labels of Love management…

Host of the night, Fiza O, along with her good friend, part-time actor Rafil Kamaruddin

Eddy Ali together with Diorama who looked extremely chuffed after winning the Best Lyricist Award for “Anti-Romantis“…

Rancour might not have won anything but I’m sure they’ll be out to produce better quality songs in future. They should be able to as they have a lot of potential still not realised…

Hyrul Anuar along with the young lady making waves and whose stock is rising on Suria of late, Azzah Fariha, and his cousin Shasha

Ms. Zakiah Halim (second from left) with three of RIA 89.7FM‘s female presenters: Fiza O, Aura Shai & Nity Baizura

Fauzie Laily with mother-to-be Nurul Aini

Here’s Lydia again with the group that I predicted would win the Best Duo / Group Award – Sleeq

Last but not least, this is the new cast of Cinta Ixora 2… Kidding… These are the good people of Suria (Wati Kasim, Farah Lydia & Siti Zalinah), Eaglevision (Netty Fiona), (Fadly Ahmad), (Izarr), Hyrul Anuar & his cousin Shasha

Till the next entry… Be patient please… 🙂 Red Carpet & Pre-Event Cocktail Reception…

The blog stats rose yesterday with people coming in here anticipating to read something about the show / just to view the photographs I might have uploaded for your eyes. Based on previous events / shows / concerts I attended, I would take days, weeks even, to put up my thoughts. By then the euphoria would have died down. So to keep the momentum going, I have decided to split the happenings of the inaugural into three parts beginning with this entry.

This was another first for me and the wife, in that we were invited to attend the pre-event cocktail reception cum Red Carpet event. As compared to the post-event receptions which we have been attending in the past, this felt so much better, very private and personal, as we could get the artistes to pose for photographs without having to clamour with the other guests. If I was a journalist, this kind of setting is heaven sent as we have the artistes all to ourselves, literally speaking. It was also the perfect opportunity to get to know the artistes better. And so with camera in hand, I went on a shooting spree. Enjoy the photographs…

The top 2 Anugerah 2005 finalists: Syed Azmir & Hyrul Anuar

Kraton in the house!!!

Revalina & Shahril Bahri

Setia Vegawati (Vega) & Shenthy Feliziana (Elly) – The new faces to grace our television screens through the recently-concluded Cinta Ixora series. Both are also one half of female quartet Dynda. Based on early observations, the group looks set for a promising career under the tutelage of Cat Farish. I hope they will work hard and make an impact, especially since our local Malay music industry is crying out for more female singers to rival their male counterparts.

The Sallys…

Verbalise FloA’Trez (right) & Phalique (centre), with the latter’s wife. Based on their official MySpace page, the group has since undergone an upgrading of sorts and is now known as X-Clusive, which answered my question how come I see A’Trez appearing in both X-Clusive‘s and Verbalise Flo‘s performances over the past month or so. Surprisingly, Phalique is not in X-Clusive (as he wishes to concentrate on family commitments from what I just learnt, thanks to A’Trez) and in his place are Ize Suliman of Anugerah 2009 fame and Razlyna Ajis, who is also an Anugerah 2009 alumnus, even though she only made it to Top 50. Was wondering if X-Clusive would be considered a new or old group when the next event comes around???

Four of the Anugerah 2009 semi-finalists: Wawan, Catty, Kunjung & Chirul

I’m definitely sure this hunk needs no further introduction…

Sleeq– The dynamic duo whose stock continues to rise with every hit composition that rises up the music charts…

Sound Salvation & Singapore Idol 2009 Sezairi Sezali. This was my first time meeting the young man in the flesh and what you see on television on his likeability factor is definitely not a show of act. I can’t explain it in words but the aura he exudes, screams of genuine and humbleness, even before I opened my mouth to talk to him and wished him all the best in his music career. Singapore or rather, the voters who made him Idol, me included, definitely made the right choice in granting him his deserved coronation… Stay that way bro… You’ll definitely go far…

The glam man himself – Hafeez Glamour

Shah, Ross & Aidil – Revalina…

Hady Mirza – Our Asian Idol… Funny when I’m typing this, his monster hit Angkasa is currently being played on the airwaves…

A baby in the industry who holds so much promise to lift the standards and likeability factor of the female singers, Sarah Aqilah

Award presenters of the night, Nity Baizura & Aura Shai of RIA 89.7FM

Revalina with Aqmal Noor & his partner…

This looks like a new band in town but actually it’s Zaibaktian, Rafaat Hamzah, Amin Salleh, Suffian (Crossover), Adha (Ard Bhumiband) & Tengku Adil hemming it up for the camera. Fun bunch I know since the Festival Melayu Ada series…

This is Konspirazy, who were up for the Most Popular Artiste award…

Roze Kasmani – She is one with huge potential. Expect her newly-released single “Harum” composed by Imran Ajmain & Alyph from Sleeq, to rise up the charts pretty soon…

That’s all I manage to upload even though I did take more photographs during the pre-event cocktail reception, but the photos are either blurred or too bright for me to feature. Hope this is a good filler before I publish my thoughts on the event proper. I need to watch its repeat telecast again on 9th April 2010 at 10:30pm for me to gather more thoughts and critic the show as a whole. So I hope you guys will be patient. In the meantime, expect another filler pretty soon…

RIA Big Bash Flashback…

2010 seems like a special year for our local Malay entertainment industry thus far. Mediacorp Suria turned ten years old late January. By mid 2010, we will be seeing new faces who would be gracing our television screens in the near future when the second edition of Anugerah Skrin comes along. Last Saturday 27th February 2010 at the Canning Ballroom, Raffles City Convention Centre, for those who attended, we witnessed the launch of the Malay Artistes Association to look after the welfare of Malay artistes and industry movers in this country. And for the first time, 2010 will see our first local Malay music awards presentation show on 3rd April 2010. Landmark events all around, which also includes the twentieth anniversary of the existence of RIA 89.7FM.

Over the past two decades, RIA 89.7FM has evolved from a station that inspires its listeners through its tagline “Radio Inspirasi Anda” to a station that plays music according to the current generation’s trend (“Tren Generasi Terkini“). There was a time when Dangdut was the in thing and boybands were the craze. RIA certainly lived up to their tag by playing songs from these genres / eras. Its tagline has since been updated to “Tren Muzik Terkini“, in line with its role in playing the latest hits. RIA has also inadvertantly taken up the role of a station that promotes our local acts through the constant airing of their new singles upon their release. Of late, their weekly RIA Chartz, which reflects the weekly Top 20 requested songs in the station, has shown a healthy number of local songs in it. As recently as the previous weekend before last ending 28th February 2010, of the Top 5 songs on the charts, the top three belonged to local acts with Hady Mirza‘s “Angkasa” at the pinnacle. This past weekend he topped the charts again for a thirteenth straight week!!!

With the rise in number of local acts making their marks in our local Malay music industry, it was no surprise that RIA marked their first outdoor event for 2010 called “RIA Big Bash“, to celebrate their twenty years of existence, with an all-local line-up. I’ve been to countless shows organised by them and have also performed on a number of occasions after winning the Impersonation Category at Kriatif RIA 1997, one of their many organised talent competitions. I must say the response in attendance has always been resounding. But what I felt was something special for “Big Bash“, an A-classed event by their standards, was the fact that they did not feel the need to invite artistes from across the Causeway to grace the occasion. It definitely was a statement of intent for them to show how far our local acts have progressed over the years and that the audience would come and give their support. It also helped that we had Hady Mirza and Taufik Batisah performing that night, sure bets for bums on seats, as the main attractions. Though I knew all along it was deliberate, but if it ever was a gamble to have an all-local line-up, it certainly paid off as the event was a sell-out.

Besides the local acts  and the twentieth anniversary of the station being the draws of this event, the night also saw the announcement of the Top 20 songs over the past two decades aired by the station. Since the end of December 2009, listeners were invited to cast their votes on which songs have been their favourite ones since RIA was incepted on 1st December 1990. They were given a list of 100 songs to choose from. How the 100 songs made the list can only be answered by the good people working in the station. But I was quite surprised that songs like KRU‘s “Awas” and “Ooh La La” did not make it to the list, monster hits back in 1995 and 1996 that defined the group, but “Di Dalam Dilema” (the list reflected the song as just “Dilema“) did. There were also other absentees which I thought deserved to be on the Top 100 list to choose from, but I guess they already have their hands full coming up with one and try to include songs from different artistes as much as possible. I think if I had come up with the list, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza would have at least ten of her past hits on it.

This entry though it will be quite lengthy with photographs that I have taken that night, I will just comment or caption as I go along. For the record, “RIA Big Bash” was held at Republic Polytechnic‘s The Republic Cultural Centre on 21st February 2010 at 8.00pm (the show actually started approximately 8.20pm). It was brought to us by main sponsors Breeks Cafe and Seoul Garden Restaurant. The event was also in support of  Tabung Amal Aidilfitri charity fund.

This percussions group call themselves “Sambateria” and they opened the show with their rousing performance which made us all want to get up and dance along with them…

There was something distinctly fresh about how dikir barat group Si Anak Seni performed that night right after Sambateria. They ditched their traditional outfits and broke away from the norms of what you would expect from a normal dikir barat performance by taking up the different musical instruments and playing to a song honouring RIA 89.7FM, its segments and presenters, which they specially composed for the bash. A pity that the sound system did not fully give them a good account of themselves. I was straining my ears trying to figure out what they were singing.

The hosts that night and the previous morning show hosts on RIA, Aura Shai and Hafeez Glamour. Their antics certainly entertained the audience and gave each performance a smooth transition between one another.

This three-piece band, The Lion Story, is famous for the catchy ditty “Kucing Kemari” which they performed that night, along with another single. They remind me a lot of those bands from school gigs, clean cut and definitely with loads of potential.

Ever the charmer, Didicazli serenaded Ms Zakiah Halim to Jamal Abdillah‘s 1991 hit “Kekasih Awal Dan Akhir“, which came in 17th on the Top 20 list of popular songs on RIA over the past two decades. He dedicated the song as his way of saying thank you to her and the station for believing in his music when he first started off as a singer.

He then followed up his performance by singing his latest hit single “Takkan Kembali“…

S.K. (Suriani Kassim) and T.G. (Tahar Ghalib), two very popular radio presenters previously on RIA‘s roster and now at Warna 94.2FM, rolled back the years when they performed the classic hit “Dua Insan” made famous by first M. Nasir & Yunizar Hussein, and then Ezad from Exists & Iva Virginia. It was heartening to see S.K. in the pink of health after what she went through some time ago. Coupled with the fact that their performance was backed up with still footages of previous RIA events over the past twenty years, I felt a lump in my throat, getting nostalgic watching and reminiscing them. I was also momentarily stunned when I saw a photo of myself featured during the Tingkap Tingkap 897 event in 1997 a few months after my group’s win at Kriatif RIA and we were invited to perform.

Zaibaktian always gets a resounding reception  from the audience whenever he comes on stage. A very warm and likeable character, he performed his two hits “Dunia Yang Fana” and “Ejen Cinta” that night…

I think it is fair to say that the only female artiste on show that night, Nana, blew the whole auditorium away with her two songs. Rather than singing her hit “Lafaz“, she sang two songs that made it into the Top 20 hits of the past two decades, Misha Omar‘s “Bunga-Bunga Cinta” and Aishah‘s “Janji Manismu“. My hairs stood on end listening to her. Somebody of her calibre should be creating storms and causing ripples in our local music industry and I hope she gets all the support she needs. I for one thought that she should have been one of the longer standing performers in Singapore Idol Season 1 alongside Jeassea Thyidor.

The night not only saw performances by local acts, even the RIA presenters had something up their sleeves for the audience. Of late DJ KC has been practising street magic skills, of which he has incorporated into his weekend hosting events for weddings and functions alike. Though not many knew of this new-found interest and skill of his, that night, he showed his abilities to the audience alongside RIA‘s Programme Director, Mr. Hassan Salleh. Generally everyone was impressed. Just that I felt that it was a bit too draggy as they invited some of the audience to participate in the segment. It was a Sunday afterall and a lot of people had to work the following day.

From the amateurs, the centrestage then belonged to the professional, none other than Imran of Illusi fame. He wowed the audience with a few tricks like making himself disappear on stage and in his place was Fiza O, before reappearing at the back of the auditorium. He also made Nity Baizura and Aura Shai appear on stage. God knows how he did those tricks. However, certain sections of the audience especially those at opposite ends, saw through him. He has to make sure that in future, his surroundings are well covered and that no one should be able to detect his flaws.

Proceedings were then halted for awhile as RIA‘s presenters, current and former, came on stage to cut its twentienth anniversary cake. It was heartwarming to see some of the former presenters being invited and able to attend the event. Azmi Sempoi who was based in Kuala Lumpur, made the effort to come all the way down just to see his former colleagues. Some of them like Fiza O and Azlin Ali, were overcome with emotions upon seeing him. He is now based in India on a business venture.

Boy Raven who was supposed to perform alongside Man Toyak, ended up performing alone. He is seen here singing his current hit on radio “Kesuma Jiwa“.

Boy‘s second set came with a surprise. He sang “Mentera Semerah Padi“, which came in ninth on the Top 20 list of songs over the past twenty years on RIA, alongside Didicazli and Zaibaktian, to the cheers of the audience.

Kraton was up next. This RIA Band Remix champion in 2008 received mix reviews from many quarters. While most people did not like their rendition of Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza‘s “Cindai“, me included, I felt that overall, they were a breath of fresh air with their elaborate costume and unorthodox showmanship. The male singer, Jufri, pranced around and kept jumping up and down the stage. Fortunately there were no pregnant ladies seated at the front row, lest they would have gotten unwanted shocks and trauma, especially since he was wearing a special kind of contact lens that made him look scarier. He certainly performed like a man possessed that night. I for one love their hit single “Fanaq” as it reminds me a lot of “Puspasari Penawar Puteri“, made famous by the now-defunct Malaysian rock group Metalasia and Ning Baizura sometime in 2004.

Since its inception, RIA 89.7FM has organised several talent competitions for aspiring artistes and performers to showcase their talents. Over the years we’ve had competitions like Karaoke 897, Kitalah Bintang, RIA Band Remix and Kriatif RIA amongst others. Such competitions have been good foundations for artistes like Hetty Sarlene, Rudy Djoharnaen, Mansor Warren, Izzla (Malaysian artiste), X-Tech, Kraton and many more. So it was apt that during the event, Styles From Beyond, who were the winners of Kriatif RIA a few years ago and also participated in 2008‘s The Dance Floor competition on Channel 5, were invited to showcase their talents once again.

The twist to their performance was they had Fiza O and Nity Baizura dancing along with them and the two of them did not look out of place at all. Yours truly also belong to the Kriatif RIA alumnus but I don’t think my group would be relevant in the current context had we been invited to perform, seeing that we were only impersonators of KRU and the real McCoy have since cooled off to concentrate more on their music and filming empire. Anyway, we’ve had our time and what great memories they were. My only regrets were the lack of videos and photographs of our past performances. If only YouTube was invented earlier.

I could sense the restlessness amongst the audience when Styles From Beyond were performing as the night was getting late. But all those feelings disintegrated when Hady Mirza came onstage to sing “Merpati“, which came in third on the Top 20. He even took time to come down and shook hands with everyone seated on the front row. And what is a Hady performance nowadays without his gargantuan hit “Angkasa”??? I have to repeat again that it is tops for thirteen weeks now on the current RIA Chartz, a phenomenon of sorts.

Taufik Batisah‘s appearance towards the end was a no-brainer. But I was surprised that his song “Usah Lepaskan” came in first on the Top 20 list of songs. Not that I have any doubts or have an axe to grind with Taufik, far from it, but it reflects the current demographics and patterns of voters out there, not to mention preferences. Had this poll been done in 2000, there will be no surprises as to which singer or song would top the charts. However Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza could be pleased with the fact that three of her previous hits “Cindai“, “Aku Cinta Padamu” and “Percayalah” made it to the list, thus making her the top artiste over the past two decades. That’s another no-brainer really given how much she has achieved in her career spanning fifteen years and counting.

What was unique about Taufik‘s performance was the fact that the producer of RIA Big Bash, RZ himself, came on stage to sing the first few verses and chorus of “Usah Lepaskan“, just to keep the audience in suspense, anticipating the arrival of the first Singapore Idol onstage. Though he forgot the lyrics at some point, I thought RZ did a decent job singing the song. The tiredness on his face was evident and I knew he has been spending long hours at work preparing for this big-scale event. Taufik followed up his performance singing “Tiada Dua“, a song that is fast gaining its admirers. But it is not a surprise to me at all. Taufik seems to have the Midas touch in that any single of his that is introduced to the listeners, it will surely be a guaranteed hit. No question about it.

The last act of the night belonged to the RIA male presenters who formed a band amongst themselves and are simply called RIA Band, with DJ KC on vocals, Brader Bo on lead guitar and RZ on drums. Apologies as the identity of their guest bassist was lost on me though. The band, which was formed during the first Band Remix competition back in 2007, performed Ricky Martin‘s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and literally burnt the house down with their virtuoso and energetic performance.

It was also a nice gesture for them to call up Zan Sofiyan, one of its original members, and Azmi Sempoi to perform on stage with them halfway through the song to signal its finale. And what a finale it was with Brader Bo smashing his guitar. It truly felt like watching a proper rock concert.

RIA Big Bash was overall, a resounding success in my opinion, not because I’ve been a loyal listener since 1st December 1990, or because I used to be an intern back in 1998 or for the fact that I regard some of the presenters as good friends. The main thing for me is that for a big-scale event like this, RIA can pat themselves on the back for being able to attract a full house (the empty seats in the auditorium I believe, belonged to representatives from sponsors and invitees who did not turn up) and most importantly without the need to call upon a guest artiste from Malaysia or Indonesia. It was an all-Singaporean affair which in itself is a landmark and progress that we have made over the years to see our local Malay music industry bloom. Indeed since its inception, RIA has done a commendable job to introduce and support local acts, even to the point of granting airplay to songs which do not meet the basic quality standards.

However, there were flaws that could have been avoided. The day of the event which was on a Sunday was top of the list, bearing in mind that the next day was a Monday and people had to go to work or attend school. It was too evident when the show started almost half an hour late and certain segments were too draggy or absolutely redundant. The magic show for instance could have just been done by KC or Imran. The opening acts involving Sambateria and Si Anak Seni I felt was just a repetitive segment which could have been done either by fusing their respective genres or limited to just one. With so many acts on show, there was a tendency of the old adage of too many cooks spoiling the broth rearing its ugly head.

The event also felt like a repeat of last August‘s Rentak Singapura event organised by both RIA and Warna 94.2FM. Even though I did not attend that event due to personal commitments, the main artistes on show that night (Taufik, Hady, Zaibaktian, Nana and Didicazli) were also the same headliners on 21st February 2010. Not meaning to take anything away from the five talented singers, I believe we still have other acts patiently waiting for their opportunities to make themselves be heard and seen. But I can understand why they were chosen because they have their own sets of loyal supporters who would go the distance in supporting them. As a result, we saw that the event was a full house. The sound system was also left to be desired as the vocals of the singers were sometimes drowned by the music that accompanied them. Which was a pity really cos the talents on show certainly deserved better justice to their performances.

The positive side of it is that this event is only the first of many for 2010 and one could expect more local acts to be invited for upcoming ones in store. I just don’t want to hear something like so-and-so is a golden child to so-and-so or this person charges lesser that’s why he / she was invited. Have heard of such things like that across the Causeway and I don’t want our industry to suffer the same thing. Have yet to anyway, that’s why I’m just throwing caution to the wind. Not pointing fingers at anyone in case some of you feel that way. Jealousy breeds contempt in so many ways and what I brought up has happened before, so I wouldn’t like to see it repeated here. Before I end this entry, here is the full list of Top 20 songs on RIA over the past twenty years:

Top 20 Songs on RIA 89.7FM (1990-2010)

  1. Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
  2. Demi Waktu – Ungu
  3.  Merpati – Hady Mirza
  4. Cindai – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza
  5. Percayalah – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza
  6. Kaulah Segalanya – Hazrul Nizam
  7. Janji Manismu -Aishah
  8. Dealova – Once (Dewa 19)
  9. Mentera Semerah Padi – M. Nasir
  10. Mungkin Nanti – Peterpan
  11. Kenangan Terindah – Samsons
  12. Seribu Tahun – Imran Ajmain
  13. Bunga-Bunga Cinta – Misha Omar
  14. Aku Cinta Padamu – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza
  15. Cenderawasih – 2D
  16. Menghitung Hari – Kris Dayanti
  17. Kekasih Awal & Akhir – Jamal Abdillah
  18. Bilang Saja – Agnes Monica
  19. P.U.S.P.A. – ST12
  20. Hijau – Zainal Abidin

Onboard RIA Anniversary Cruise…


Apologies for this purposedly delayed entry, if you consider publishing this extremely long entry some seventy-two hours later from returning as “late“. I was having a massive headache when I got home last Friday due to lack of sleep and getting up on the wrong side of bed on the last day of the event, that by the time I reached home, the first thing I wanted to do was catch up on lost sleep “suffered” during the trip. As always, when there is such an event as long as this (this is definitely by far the longest!!!) and when I’m there to witness it firsthand and tell it as how I see, hear or experience it, it is jolly well gonna be a massive entry for your reading pleasure. I’m updating this as slowly as I could and taking my own sweet time. So again I apologise if you people out there have been waiting for my update on this trip, which was from 3rd to 5th December 2008. Oh and I need to add on, it is the longest entry to date that I’ve done so far in my history of blogging. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!


The main lobby on the 7th floor…

I’ve been an avid listener of RIA 89.7FM right from its inception on 1st December 1990 at exactly 5pm. I still remember listening to it for the first time about a month short of my 12th birthday whilst sitting in my father’s car, trapped along the Causeway due to the traffic jam heading towards Johor Bahru. We were making our way there to watch the 2nd leg of Singapore‘s Malaysia Cup semi-final match against Johor. It was the heady days of Alistair Edwards and Abbas Saad and we duly won 4-1 that night. Anyway back to my story and I have to apologise if I were to sidetrack a bit and relate my past experiences with the radio station before I describe what happened during the trip.


One of the karaoke rooms…

I’ve grown up listening to the station, seen its evolution over the years and many changes to those on its payroll as deejays come and go every few years with the exception of Hafeez Glamour who has been onboard right from the very start. I grew up with it from the time I was in primary school to my current standing as a father of two. It is also ironical that my firstborn shares the same birthday as the radio station as well, such is my apparent “loyalty”, as mentioned by former programme director of the station, bro A.B. Shaik, when I first broke the news to him on the birth of Syahindah Adawiyah.


One of the highlights of my internship 🙂

Over the past eighteen years being a listener, I’ve had good memories being a part of their events and for a good period of three and a half months in 1998, being a part of the staff as an intern doing my polytechnic attachment programme, which till now still remains one of my best memories in life and for the fact that I was perhaps the first to do my internship without a Mass Communications background, as noted by former RIA deejay Morniyati Tukimin back then, who is now at Warna 94.2FM. Another memorable event was of course “kRIAtif 97” whereby my best friend Nizam, cousin Ezaad and myself impersonated KRU and won the Impersonation Category, performing on the same stage along with a certain up and coming Datin Sri. Circa 1998-2001, I was also a volunteer at their outdoor events, my way and form of gratitude in having me onboard as an intern.


kRIAtif 97… An unforgettable event…


Being invited to perform at Boom RIA Boom in 1998.

But in any relationship out there, there are bound to be differences in opinions and clash of personalities over the course of time. I’ve had several run-ins and misunderstandings with some of them before in the past and I’m sure certain events I’ve reviewed like Anugerah Planet Muzik for instance, would have ruffled some feathers within their hierarchy. However, I’m not the kind to prolong whatever differences I have. Like I had mentioned in my entry on “Being Impartial” recently, I let go what is trapped inside and I move on and not dwell over it. Anyway, criticisms do not constitute with having hatred and angst inside, nor does it decay to the point that we’re no longer on talking terms. There could possibly be future run-ins and misunderstandings in store, touch wood, you’ll never know, but such is life in that it would not have that wee bit of pizzazz if we were to agree on the same things all the time. I believe whatever differences we might have in terms of opinions and how things should be run in the past were because we all care for the station and want to see it thrive even more.


Entertainment by the pub…

As a listener, we can complain and rant objectively and not based on emotions, but we also have the power to suggest what could be done to make things better and it’s up to them to weigh them up and implement them. I’ve had a few suggestions taken on board and implemented which shows, they do take our suggestions quite seriously, where policies and working guidelines are not compromised. At the end of the day, no matter what differences we have in terms of personalities and opinions, I still respect them for what they do for a living. It helped that my internship a decade ago made me understand how they work trying to please the masses on a daily basis. And it is definitely not all glitz and glamour as seen by most people out there.


The Gallery – Where they placed our photographs taken just before we boarded the ship…

In Malay speak, you would say my foreword would be “Panjangnya mukadimah dia, bila nak start cerita pasal trip!!!???” Ok I shall not bore you any further then with anecdotes of my colourful past and just get on with talking about the cruise trip. My thesis is just about to get longer as I spin my yarn so please bear with my long-windedness.


The cinema room… Looks more like an AVA room found in schools…


The idea of having the cruise trip was first mentioned sometime in September when the station ran its “Lagu Apa Sayang???” promotions where listeners would call in and guessed the title of a particular song which contained the word “Sayang“, and they have to guess just by listening to a one to two seconds clip of the song. At first, I was not that interested to go on the trip, but when they eventually said that “Misteri Jam 12“, a hot favourite programme amongst the listeners and mine as well, was part of the agenda of the trip, I secretly yearned to be onboard to experience the live atmosphere.


As I had mentioned before, I used to be a part of (Singapore’s First Online Ghost Stories) and it’s been quite awhile since I’ve gone on adventure trips to experience being in the same environment as the supernatural. This “Misteri Jam 12” experience on the ship would have more or less rekindled the days of yore, even if it’s just relating ghostly experiences onboard. Well it was an open secret as I had cajoled the wife to come along and take a break from her gruelling work schedule. The moment they added meeting artistes under the Suria Records (SRC) and Siti Nurhaliza Productions (SNP) umbrellas in the activity list when we reached Port Klang, that clinched it for me.


The helipad on Deck 13…

You might be wondering why I was so interested with the latter event when my interest has always been just Datin Sri (forgive me for using this term cos I think it’s even higher than just a Dato’ since her hubby has been promoted to Dato’ Sri) and Liza Hanim when both used to be under SRC. Prior to my marriage in 2005, I’ve actively helped out at events involving SRC artistes and made friends with some of them and the people working behind the scenes as well. Knowing full well that the very same people working behind the scenes would definitely be at the event, it was like killing a few birds with one stone. I don’t go up to Kuala Lumpur that often and even if I do, my schedule is so tight that I do not have the time to catch up with the friends I’ve made over the years.


The basketball court reminds me of the steel cage used in wrestling…

This was the perfect opportunity to meet some of my old friends again, especially Saerah (Datin Sri‘s younger sister) and her cousin Aju, whom I was tasked to help chaperone around town when they were here for Malam Amal Suria in 2002. Saerah, for those of you who do not know, is now an up and coming artiste who would be releasing her debut album next year. The last Aida and I met them was back in November 2004 when they were here for a short performance at IMM, in conjunction with Manja magazine’s event, a promotional show to find new faces to grace our local entertainment industry, if my memory serves me well. They had wanted to come to our wedding but could not make it due to other prior commitments. So yes, four years is a long time and our only modes of communication so far has been through the occasional sms and Friendster, which personally I feel is quite passe with the increasing addictive level associated with Facebook.


We would have loved to let Syahindah enjoy the facilities meant for kids here…

Still the challenge of getting the wife to take a break proved to be quite a daunting one. Her punishing work schedule requires her to return home close to or around midnight, jumping from project to project, having to meet datelines and answer every whims by her company’s clients. It was only after I had personally talk to her manager when I sent her home, after I had picked both of them up from the office, that she said it was ok for the wife to have a short break and re-energise, even though they are currently in the midst of a project. I thought the wife deserved it as she has been with the manager and the latter should know how committed and dedicated the former is at work, staying late at the expense of quality time with family.


A giant chess set… Wished the wife could play the game as well…

And so we only confirmed our trip about ten days before we were due to depart. The original plan was to bring Syahindah along and not bring Syadiyah, bearing in mind we were to have “Misteri Jam 12” onboard and it would not be suitable for her. In fact, we were also in two minds whether to bring Syahindah along since she is afraid whenever she listens to the “Misteri Jam 12” trailers, saying “Akut dobash…” (that’s “Takut Dua Belas” in infant speak) and running out of the room. But we still decided to go along with it since it would be nice to celebrate her recent birthday together onboard.


The arcade was closed when we came in to see…

Since we were late confirmers and the cheaper rates have all been taken up, we got ourselves the most expensive deck on the 10th floor. But I was quite appalled to know on the day of registering for the trip that Syahindah who would have already turned two by the time we depart, had to pay the same rates as an adult. If you think this was an idiotic policy on the part of E-Ventions International & Travel, the co-organisers of this trip, to squeeze every dollar from us, it was not. It was apparently the part of Star Cruises Pte Ltd, the main body in charge of the Superstar Virgo which we were supposed to board. The question that played in my head was “How much can my daughter do and eat onboard???“, even when we paid so much for someone as young as her.


The deck gallery at Deck 7…

Another thing that I was quite pissed off about was when I received the programme schedule. It stated that we were supposed to go on a three days two nights trip. But the schedule showed that we were to report at HarbourFront at 7:30pm and the cruise ship would only depart at midnight. What three days was this??? It felt more like a two days two nights affair!!! I felt extremely shortchanged by Star Cruises‘ policies. This is daylight robbery to the core and they really should do something about it and increase the age limit of infants to at least 7 years or 12 for that matter and state clearly their schedule. I had that sinking feeling so to speak after I made my payment. I was angry at Star Cruises and not at E-Ventions nor the people at RIA 89.7FM as I believe the latter two had no choice themselves but to comply with the former.


The corridor leading to our room…

But miracle of miracles came along later on on the same day, when my mum called me up and said that my family were planning for a trip themselves to Kuala Lumpur on 4th December 2008 and it would be nice to bring along Syahindah to keep both my sisters and the maid company. After a short discussion with wifey, we decided the best was to let Syahindah follow my family and get our money’s worth back. We’re not gonna let Star Cruises have their way. So that’s a crotch chop aimed at them. If you dunno what a crotch chop is, go to YouTube and search for “D-Generation X“. You’ll find your answer there.


Our room had no windows and we had to sleep separately…

If not for the fact that this was our virgin trip onboard a cruise ship, I wouldn’t have gone at all. Life is all about experiences and we had for some time wanted to try this out and such an opportunity should not be passed on, especially when you know you’re gonna have lots of fun and activities. Which was why we still went ahead even though we already felt the bitter taste in our mouths even before we embarked.


Our room number…

3rd December 2008

And so it ended up like a third honeymoon for us (the first was our Umrah in 2006, the second being Aida‘s cousin, Malaysian actress Nadia Mustafar‘s wedding in 2007). I thought my anger with Star Cruises would subside by the time we embarked on our trip but a call made at 3pm by one of the E-Ventions‘ staff only served to increase it. She said the ship had not returned and there would be a delay. Instead of 7:30pm, the meeting time then was set at 9pm. There was a good omen about that in that we did not have to rush through Maghrib but the bad point was it only made us felt shortchanged by the timing stated on our schedule.


All set for the trip…

We left home at 8:15pm and took the train down to HarbourFront. It helps that staying across the road from Sengkang MRT Station means we save on exorbitant taxi fares, just to cater to our luggage bag. We reached HarbourFront at about 9pm and whilst I dashed upstairs to the ATM machine to withdraw cash, Aida waited just outside the Cheers convenience store. When I returned, she was being kept company by cousin Ezaad (he of the recent Kallang Roar The Movie fame) and wife Julie who had come to see us off. It was their 3rd year wedding anniversary that day so they were out on a date sans their son, Eshaan. When we reached just outside the Arrival area of the HarbourFront Cruise Centre and after taking photographs, we said our goodbyes and made our way to the reporting area, which used to be the small area outside the old Delifrance restaurant, if the memory of the place is still fresh in my head. The place has been somewhat converted into a holding area of sorts.


They sent us off whilst dating and celebrating their 3rd year wedding anniversary…


Good to go…

Once inside the holding area and after taking the E-Ventions’ stickers to indicate that we’re part of the travelling group over the apparent three days, we stood at the back to listen to the briefing given by Syah Ibrahim, former RIA and Warna deejay and now the big boss of E-Ventions International & Travel Pte Ltd. Listening to him speak and pulling the legs of some of the fellow participants was a throwback to the heydays when his voice simply pulled in the ratings for whichever station he was at. Once he was done, he handed the microphone over to the RIA deejays to do their own welcoming speeches and what to expect during the trip. There was such a huge number of people at the holding area, I reckoned there were more than two hundred people on the trip. Confirmations later on indicated the total strength was three hundred and thirty pax!!! This was definitely more than I had imagined.


The briefing by Syah Ibrahim

Halfway through the rundown of events to be held on the ship, Syah interrupted the briefing and informed us to be patient as there was quite a chaotic scene on the second floor where the departure gallery was. Apparently there were many unhappy people upstairs who had been waiting as early as 5pm and couldn’t wait onboard to gamble at the casinos. No wonder they say “Money is the root of evil“. We were fortunate in that whilst waiting for our cue to go upstairs, we were entertained by KC and Brader Bo as they bantered and made a lot of funny jokes to make us forget about the waiting. In the process, we also learnt a bit more about both deejays which we probably have not heard of. While I will not specifically say what is its significance, now whenever I see a bird, I will forever be reminded of Brader Bo.


They saved the day with their stand-up comics…

At about 11:15pm we were told to go upstairs via a special route which they had opened up for us. Even though it was still a sizeable queue, we went in without any glitches. It was during the briefing earlier and at the queue that I realised that within our travelling group, there were familiar faces like our secondary school mate’s parents and younger brother, my junior in polytechnic, Erliana and her husband Kamal, who just got married the weekend before last which we attended and a fellow listener, Kak Yati, whom I’ve not met for quite some time. At certain points along the way, we were greeted by the Star Cruises‘ mascots and they had appointed photographers to take a photograph of us with the mascots. Once inside the ship, even though we were supposed to have a very late dinner at the Bella Vista restaurant on the 6th floor, we instead made our way to our rooms to put our luggage inside. Once that was done, we went up to the said restaurant for dinner.


Moving towards the ship…

I was extremely famished as I had gone to the gym earlier in the day, my last meal being about two plus in the afternoon and the dinner was served at midnight. But I did not eat more than I should, bearing in mind I’ve always loved breakfast whenever I go on overseas holidays. When dinner was done, both me and Aida took the time to walk around the ship and explore the facilities. I had actually planned to sing my lungs out at the karaoke rooms but somehow I wasn’t convinced they had enough Malay songs for my liking when I saw the interior settings of the rooms. When we reached the open deck on the 13th floor, there was already a crowd upstairs enjoying the view from the top of the ship and I must say it was a breathtaking view of Singapore‘s south coast.


That’s the HarbourFront on the right of the photograph…

We turned in for the night at around 2am but I still woke up at 4am to catch the live telecast of the English Carling Cup quarter-finals match between Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers. I drifted in and out of sleep whilst watching the game due to my tiredness but when the game was over and I had said my dawn prayers, I suddenly became fresh and looking forward to breakfast even though I tried to force myself to go back to sleep for at least an hour as we had a long day ahead.


The score says it all…

4th December 2008

Breakfast was held at the Mediterranean Buffet & Terrace situated on Deck 12 of the ship. We were one of the early birds and was quite impressed with the spread on offer, even though my personal favourite, scrambled eggs, was not available. One interesting aspect about this cafe is that they have a Kids’ Section, whereby the tables and chairs are much smaller in size as compared to the ones meant for adults. Whilst queueing up for food, the deejays came in to have their breakfast as well. The female deejays were conspicuously wearing shades, perhaps indicating the lack of sleep due to the last minute rehearsals they might have done the night before, for the “RIA Anniversary Show“, which was slated at 9am.


The kids’ section at the Mediterranean… Note the sizes of the tables and chairs…

Once breakfast was done, Aida and I set off to the open deck at Deck 13 for some project that I had planned the night before when we walked around the ship. A good thing that no one was around at that time lest I would have been extremely embarrassed at the unnecessary attention I would have attracted. Cos I had brought a few clothes to change into so as to make my project looked a bit realistic. I’m sure you guys would like to know what project I had in store and was about to experiment on. Well, wait no more and look at the next photograph.


Once that project was done and dusted, we went over to the 7th floor where The Lido was. The Lido is not the cinema that we all know so well but a big auditorium that could fill about a thousand pax. The interior was quite lush and reminded me of a grand theatre like the Esplanade‘s Concert Hall that I recently went to, to watch “An Evening With Anuar Zain“. It was also the venue where cabaret style entertainment and topless shows were being held at night. And why were we there so early in the morning??? Well, it was our first activity of the day, watching the “RIA Anniversary Show“, performed by the deejays for the listeners. Even Syah Ibrahim joined in the fun.



It was a 2-hour show packed with fun and entertainment, with the deejays taking turns to perform songs from the 90s down to current hits and playing games with the audience. Ok granted that the singing at times could be improved on, but credit has to be given to them for making the effort to prepare something for the listeners to enjoy. The games that were played on stage were unforgettable. We had “Pump-the-balloons-with-your-bums“, “Impersonating Your Favourite Deejay” and “Musical Chairs” which were riots. I especially liked the first one as all the five participants had to don on several masks (Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, Scream, Charlie Chaplin and the common Chingay mask) for added humour. I think the whole audience enjoyed themselves judging by the howls and roars of laughter.







But that was not all. Towards the end of the show, forty-one names were called up to the stage, me included. When I was making my way up the stage I had an idea why we were called up, that is, possibly those who celebrate their birthdays in December. However I became sceptical when I saw so many on stage that I wondered if that many people really celebrate their birthdays in December. And I was proven right when the deejays wheeled out a large birthday cake for everyone to join in with the singing of the birthday song, led by none other than Ms Birthday Radi-O herself, Fiza O. The show ended with the deejays singing Matta Band‘s “Ketahuan“. I just wondered why they sang so many Indonesian songs.


The December babies…



Digging the nose of Osama a.k.a. KC… Wonder what his left hand is pointing at…

Once the event was over, we went back to the Mediterranean Buffet & Terrace for lunch and after that, walked around The Gallery area situated on the 8th floor to look at the photographs we had taken with the mascots prior to boarding the ship the previous night. We were quite appalled at the charges they offered. A 5R photograph cost about SGD$10.00, a photo magnet SGD$10.50 and a key chain went at SGD$10.30. Quite a cunning way to make money, we’re being suckered into adding to Star Cruises‘ coffers. We pondered and weighed the options on which ones to take back for memories’ sake but we could not come to a decision yet, so we went back to our rooms to observe our responsibilities and take a short nap before getting off the ship when it reached Port Klang in Selangor Darul Ehsan.


The view at Port Klang


Before disembarking the ship, we had to return to The Lido again where we were divided into six groups. Not all the participants were interested on the land tour that was planned, so there was a reduced number of people at the auditorium. Each group was led by a deejay, some had two in their group. Somehow my gut feeling was our group would be led by KC and I was proven right when we assembled together. The good thing about my group was, the people I knew before this were in the same group, so it was nice to be amongst familiar faces. We were due to board coach number 4 and I remembered exchanging some banter with KC with regards to my nick, which “Cik Mung“, the chipmunk character in his weekly show, had changed to something vulgar and unprintable in this family-oriented blog.


The coach number 4 gang, led by KC

I had actually planned to sleep during the journey to Taman Connought in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur where we were headed for. But with KC onboard, that was definitely impossible as we exchanged ghost stories and he shared some of the stories that he had aired before for the benefit of those in the group who had missed out. Not only that, he took the time to interview a few of us, me included, just to get some feedback and thoughts on the trip that could be included in his “Galaxy” programme to be aired this coming Saturday at 11am. I also took the time to sit next to him and get some mp3 files from his handphone, the trailers associated to his “Misteri Jam 12” programme.


Entertaining us with his stories…

In between the bluetoothing of mp3 files, we shared our experiences on artistes we had met before, especially the hypocrisy that a small minority of them portray away from the public eye and how the “Puasa Yok Yok” song, which he sang with “Cik Mung” during the past Ramadhan, came about. It was a sly dig at a local artiste who was seen not fasting in public. Who that person’s identity is will remain with me. All I hope for is that artiste would realise his / her folly and wisen up. You’re in the public’s radar 24/7 and you’re only jeopardising your career by doing something dumb like that.



The owner herself, Kak Rozie

We reached Restoran Resepi Sang Dewi, situated at Taman Connought, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur around 5pm. This humble restaurant is owned by Kak Rozie, Datin Sri Siti Nurhaliza‘s sister-in-law. The first person I met when I was walking towards the restaurant was Abang Bard. Abang Bard is the Head Public Relations Officer with Suria Records (SRC) and I have known him for almost a decade now from my experiences helping out at SRC events. We exchanged hugs and pleasantries before asking how each other were doing in life. He has two kids now, same as us. It was just extreme pleasure meeting him once again since the last I met him was at the last Anugerah Planet Muzik in Kuala Lumpur. He has a gentle personality and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.


Me with Abang Bard

When we reached the restaurant, we were greeted by the artistes who were slated to make an appearance like Saerah, Saida, Indah Ruhaila, Sofaz, Coda and Tomok of New Boyz fame. It was like an open house where the artistes played the hosts. The first person we met was of course Saerah and it was great to meet her again and seeing how slim she was as compared to four years ago when we last met her. Her secret was of course to lay off eating rice. I think I should continue doing that cos the last time I did it for about a month, I think I lost about 3kg, and that too was laying it off during dinnertime. If I were to lay it off totally, who knows, I might lose about 5-6kg.


Saerah with Aida


Aida with Aju

Another person that we longed to meet, Aju, who is Saerah‘s cousin, was nearby grinning away when she saw us. Again when we met, pleasantries were exchanged and we wondered how long it took us all to meet again. It was just the reunion that we had envisaged all along and we were happy to meet the people we had wanted to meet, not forgetting Kak Sabariah, an old friend of ours who had made her way up to Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day to liaise between the Malaysian and Singapore sides as well. Kak Sabariah is the Singapore representative of Suria Records and she’s also in charge of looking after our local group Revalina.


Saerah, Indah Ruhaila & Saida…


Tomok being interviewed by Fiza O. Apparently the group have rebranded themselves and is now known as just “N.B.” Reminds me of a famous Hokkien expletive… 😛

Kak Rozie, the owner of the restaurant took the time to mingle with everyone and thanking us all for coming over to her humble restaurant and I must say the food served was simply appetizing. A pity I was still full from lunch and dinner was just a few hours away, that a second helping was simply impossible for my stomach to take in. Kak Rozie still remembers yours truly, she still does, cos I used to be a familiar face at the airport to send her sister-in-law off in the past.


Zimi & Are-meer of Sofaz


Coda came without their drummer…

The event was also meant to promote and introduce the artistes to the listeners, save for Sofaz and Tomok, the rest are relatively new in the entertainment industry. We had a quiz session whereby after the introductions were made on each individual artiste, we had to answer some questions and win for ourselves some goodies courtesy of Siti Nurhaliza Productions (SNP). I answered one question with regards to Coda and got myself a goody bag containing “CTea“, the other famous product of SNP other than its owner’s award winning albums. We then had another birthday cake cutting session with the deejays and artistes before the artistes themselves took turns to perform their latest singles. It was quite a happening event so to speak.


The birthday cake to RIA, courtesy of SRC


We spent the remainder of the time chatting with Aju and Saerah, just catching up on life. Soon it was time to go and we said our goodbyes to the people we knew. Kak Rozie invited us over to the restaurant again whenever we are in the Kuala Lumpur vicinity and of course, God willing, we would like to return again someday. But first I have to learn how to negotiate my way there all over again cos Cheras is not like Kuala Lumpur City Centre itself, where it’s a big circle that would lead you back to where you originally start off no matter where you go.


Before boarding the coach, some of us visited the A&W restaurant nearby for a quick fix of something that we had not had for a long time back here in Singapore, the Curly Fries and the Root Beer Float. Even the deejays joined in as well. Brader Bo and I took the time to reminisce the good old days of A&W in Singapore and how badly it turned out for the owners in the end, especially when all the other fast food outlets were reinventing themselves every few months. I’d like to say thank you once again to the newly married couple Kamal & Erliana for sparing us some loose change as there was no money changer outlet in the building.

On the way back to Port Klang, we had a change of deejays in the coach. KC was no longer with us. Instead, Syah Ibrahim and Aura Shai took over. Syah as always, was in his element, pulling the legs of the aunties and there was one particular aunty whose laughter was so infectious that the whole coach imitated her. That aunty was very adorable, a pity she suffered a fall at the ship and had to have one of her arms bandaged. When Shai took over the microphone, she promoted something which was music to my ears. You see, RIA 89.7FM is now on the hunt for a part-time deejay and they were on the lookout for possible candidates during the trip.


Syah addressing us in the coach…

Since I was the most prominent participant in the coach, Shai asked if I was interested, I instinctively said “In the past…” Actually to tell you the truth, I am still interested in the job, it was my first love and dream to be a producer-presenter all those years ago and God knows how shattered I was when I did not get past the first round due to having a sore throat on the day of my auditions, the same one which saw Fiza O and Azmi Sempoi joining the station. But the position currently being offered is a part-time one, something that is not to my fancy due to work restrictions on moonlighting as well as the fact that part-time deejays normally have to work during Hari Raya. The full time deejays normally do not work on both Hari Rayas and I’m the kind who would prefer to spend those two special days with family, especially now that I have kids. Till now, I still lament to my wife how I wished the position being offered was a full time one. I would crawl to Caldecott Broadcast Centre just to land the job. But for now, I’m just happy being a listener.

Out of entertainment’s sake, Shai called me forward to showcase my talents. Before me there was another guy, Fathulah, who had showcased his. Fathulah is a familiar face, having had experiences as a host on one of those Screenbox productions, which I have forgotten. He had also attended the Radio Academy last year. Yours truly attended in 2000 but over the years I think quite a few things have changed with the advent of the sms system and a few other new technology integrated into the working environment of the station. When I made my way to the front of the coach, Shai gave me a warm introduction to the others.

She said that I’m quite the prominent blogger. Adding on, she said that my comments can be sharp, but they also make sense and jokingly she said, but sometimes can be nonsensical as well, which I agree judging by the wisecracks I sometimes send via the sms system. Shai threw me a challenge to speak about Anuar Zain, but I was more at ease talking about Datin Sri, so I did, for about a minute or so, the time slated for me to do it. I dunno if I did well or not cos there were some errrms and ahhhs coming out from my mouth, definitely not what they were looking for, but come to think about it, some deejays I know started off like that and had to write scripts when they first went on air. Some people have the flair for writing, but when it comes to giving a speech, there might be some problems. I need lots of speech training if I were ever to make it as a producer-presenter. That’s why I think I don’t quite fancy giving presentations.


Stunning view…

We reached back the Superstar Virgo at about 7:30pm and after putting some of our stuff back, we headed for the Mediterranean again for dinner. There was a huge crowd but we managed to find a place for ourselves. I pressured Aida into having her dinner quickly as I was very sleepy and cannot afford to enjoy “Misteri Jam 12” later on at midnight with droopy eyes due to a lack of sleep. The moment we reached back to our room at 9pm, I was off to slumberland within fifteen minutes. I set the time to wake up at 11:10pm but when I woke up at the slated time, I went back to sleep again only to wake up twenty minutes later. Even then, my eyes just refused to open and the body was calling out for me to just sleep on. After a good shower, I was fresh enough to go through the night even if the eyes were feeling itchy and the sleepiness still had not gone away.



The event that everyone had been waiting for was held at The Taverna, an open deck cafe situated at Deck 13. Supper was being served and it kinda woke me up from the groggy feeling I was experiencing. I ate the samosas to kill time and it was a drag waiting for the event to start, as technical glitches prevented the deejays from starting it as planned. In the end, what was planned to start at midnight, ended up starting at 1am. The deejays had disappeared prior to making a grand entrance wearing scary masks and they were joined by Kamal and Erliana who were dressed up as the extra “beings”. Instead of feeling scared, we were left laughing at the sight. Perhaps it was a way to diffuse the tension being felt as they had warned us beforehand that what we were about to experience would not be felt when we listen to the programme on a nightly basis.


The deejays making their grand entrance…


One for the cameras, can you guess who they are???

And how true it was!!! Brader Bo and RZ shared their personal experiences which for exclusivity sake I would not relate here. About two or three participants also came forward to share their personal experiences. I had actually planned to relate what my friends at had experienced when they ventured the old Bidadari Christian cemetery in 2001, but I thought it was best that the rest relate their personal experiences first and for the audio clip that they had planned to air to take precedence. When no one else came forward, they aired the clip, which was a live recording of a lady being possessed by a being that was sent by her neighbour who was smittened with her and wanted to separate her from her husband.


The audio clip was as real as one could get. We heard different voices coming from the lady who was possessed and everyone looked tensed listening to them. Some of the ladies in the audience and even the female deejays were seen covering their ears. My heart was pounding hard just listening to it and when it was all over, the programme ended as the general feeling was the rest were already too scared to continue listening further. Besides, we still had breakfast, a futsal and karaoke session planned in the morning, maybe that was why the show had to end off early.


The newly married couple all glammed up as the extra “beings”…

Somehow I felt it was an anti-climatic ending and too short since it started late and ended at about 1:50am. I had been looking forward to KC sharing his experiences at the conty since I always hear a ghostly shriek every fortnight or so whenever he ends his programme. He had planned to share with the audience but I think he had forgotten about it accidentally and there went my chance to share my experiences with the audience as I had procrastinated all night long when to go forward to share. To tell you the truth, why I procrastinated was because, being the most prominent listener on the trip, I did not want to make it look as though I was crazy for the microphone and glamour time. Oh well, maybe I could relate it the next time I go on air during “Misteri Jam 12“.


Yours truly getting in on the act…

We did not go back to our room straightaway. We walked around the ship and went back to The Gallery on the 8th floor to decide which photographs and mementos we would purchase the following day, along with Kamal and Erliana. It was only at 3am that we managed to call it a day, even then it took us about twenty minutes or so to sleep. Believe it or not, we spent those minutes watching Hannah Montana on television as it was the only interesting to watch at that time.


The ship leaving a trail in its wake…


The beautiful sunrise…

5th December 2008

I woke up at 6:30am with a massive headache and a stiff neck as I had woke up on the wrong side of bed. Fortunately I brought my painkillers with me, and I popped them just before we left the room for breakfast at about 7:30am. Funnily enough, the Mediterranean and Bella Vista restaurants that we were allowed to go only opened at 8am. So we spent the time walking round the ship and taking some last-minute photos of ourselves. I was not keen to have breakfast as the futsal session was due at 9am. I simply abhor eating less than two hours before I’m due for a workout. But I had to have something and the scrambled eggs were appetizers for me over at the Mediterranean. I did not eat as much as I would have loved to but at least I was satisfied I’ve had my fill. We then returned to our room to change into my gear.


Killing some time whilst waiting to have breakfast…

When we reached the basketball court on Deck 13, RZ & Hassan Salleh, RIA‘s programme director, were already waiting for people to arrive and join in. The court was covered with nettings, resembling a cage. Soon we had enough to create two teams of three each. Naturally my team was made up of the Manchester United fans in RZ and Hanafiah, the winner of the “Impersonate Your Favourite Deejay” the previous day. Our team prevailed throughout and we only left the court because more people had come to join in and let them have the opportunity to play. We were unbeaten so to speak as we had the perfect combination of skills (Hanafiah), guile (RZ) and steel (me). My job was to destroy the opponents’ attacks and distribute to the other two to finish off the job and we did it with such finesse that the rest had no answer facing up to us, and I’m not blowing my own trumpet. It was a fact witnessed by many.


We had a juggling session before we started the game proper…


The session was also filled with fun and laughter as we poked fun at each other’s antics on the court. Later on, Brader Bo came to join us and he played in my team as we moved around, changing teams. The laughter reached its peak when Brader Bo accidentally kicked the ball and it went through a hole by the side of the nettings, resulting it to fly off the ship and into the waters. Everyone stopped to look out by the side and RZ lamented at how his son’s football was gone. It was an ammunition to use against him as the ball had the Manchester United crest on it and he being a staunch United fan had his nose rubbed by Hassan, an Arsenal fan. I’m sure this would be one of the highlights of this trip and one we would remember in time to come.



Discussing tactics with RZ

We ended our session at about 10:30am and made our way to the “Galaxy of the Stars“, a pub where the karaoke session was being held. Yours truly was having a hard time picking a suitable song to sing when KC came along and chose the song for me, an extremely challenging one for the vocal chords, especially when I was already tired from the futsal session. He picked Glenn Fredly‘s “Januari” and I told him he had better sing it with me as I could not sing it by myself. And so he did, which was a great help and it was an honour to sing a duet with him cos I feel that he has a good voice himself. Naturally my voice cracked during the first chorus due to my tiredness, but it actually went well then after. I thought of singing another duet with him, 2D‘s “Kerna Delylah“, but time was not on my side.


The audience…


Fiza O smiles for the camera, while Syah does his best Mas Idayu impression…

After singing, Aida said that she was unable to record a video recording of my performance from my camera phone. Upon checking, I realised that all the video clips that I had recorded throughout the trip were all gone, which was a complete waste as I had taken clips of Saerah and Indah Ruhaila singing the previous day, amongst others. I think something must be wrong with the memory card and to think I had bought it just a few days before the trip!!! It was simply a complete waste. If any of you out there who had gone on the trip and had recorded my duet with KC, please get in touch with me as I so would like to look at it again. Many thanks in advance!!!




The karaoke session ended around 11:15am and there was still a matter of settling the outstanding bills before we could get our passports back. There was a long queue at The Lido, where Singaporeans were supposed to collect their passports. One of our fellow participants had complained that he had been waiting close to an hour. Upon hearing that, I decided to do it later and returned to our room to pack our luggage bag, but not before we went back to The Gallery to purchase our photographs and mementos, as well as a quick visit to the Duty Free shop to buy souvenirs for family members and colleagues.


Outside the duty free shop…

The wife had wanted to have lunch first before doing the rest but I told her I was still full and that I hate to eat when there were still outstanding stuff to be done. At least when the bags have been packed, we could eat at ease. And so we only went out to have lunch at about 1pm. By then we could see that Singapore was just a distance away, the south coast and the all too familiar buildings in the Central Business District greeting us literally so to speak. It was nice to have lunch facing Sentosa Island and we could see how beautiful the island is, even if a large part of the island facing HarbourFront is under construction for the upcoming integrated resort.


Singapore beckoning in the background… Spot the buildings in the Central Business District

Once we’ve had our fill, we went down to the 7th floor again where the main lobby was to settle the outstanding bills and collected our passports. It was quite a chaotic scene with so many people doing last minute settling of bills. I reckoned we waited about half an hour before we got our turn. At 2:05pm, we returned back to the room to collect our luggage and went back to the “Galaxy of the Stars” where we were supposed to converge one last time and disembark from the ship from then on. Due to the massive jam at the Immigrations‘ side, we purposedly stayed back awhile longer to take last minute photos and I didn’t wait to take another set of clone photos, much to KC‘s amusement as he was seated nearby and watching my antics.


We were the last to leave along with the deejays since we had informed cousin Ezaad that we’ll only appear at the Arrival Hall around 3:15pm. Whilst taking the slow walk and queueing up, RZ stood behind us and gathered some feedback from us with regards to the trip. He acknowledged that certain things could have been better, especially the “Misteri Jam 12” programme, but from my observations and coinciding with his, certain things were out of their hands and solely lie at the fault of Star Cruises who had initially said certain things could be done but they could not live up to it came the day. The dimming of lights during the “Misteri Jam 12” programme for instance was unable to be done because the lights were controlled by the captain’s control room and not by the open deck cafe where the event was held. Once customs were cleared, we all said our goodbyes and thanks for the support and memories.


Fort Siloso greeted our return…

Personally I felt that without the activities planned for us, the trip would have been a bit of a bore cos basically the facilities are normally what you would find at plush resorts and hotels, just that the difference is that this is onboard a cruise ship. Granted I did not get to use the gym facilities, plunged into the pool, nor immersed myself in the jacuzzi as time was so limited and we had so many things to do at such a short space of time. Coupled with the fact that we were shortchanged by Star Cruises, I think they need to change the policy and make it an afternoon embarkation next time so we would get our money’s worth, not to mention time as well. Oh and not forgetting the price for children should be lessened and not made to be paid the same price as adults if they have reached two years of age.


HarbourFront beckons…

As for the treatment given by E-Ventions International & Travel, I must say it was first class treatment by Syah Ibrahim and his team of staff. They were always willing to lend a helping hand and listen to our whims and nuances. I would not hesitate to recommend you people out there to choose them as your travel agents or follow them on their future overseas trips. They really look after you and Syah as a guide is the best there is. He makes you feel extremely at home and at ease. Even if they might have jacked up the price of the trip in the process, and this is just a hypothetical wonder being posed, I would not mind paying slightly more for that service with a smile.


Finally I would like to thank RIA 89.7FM for organising such a trip for the listeners. Maybe they could organise this another time but definitely not onboard a cruise ship as it’s quite expensive, I think even a short retreat at any of our local resorts would have been fun. I would also like to thank wifey for this trip as it is an advanced birthday gift from her to me and not forgetting, my cousin Ezaad and wife Julie for sending us off and fetching us home on the day we returned. Here’s wishing one and all Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha. May this blessed day bring more blessings and sustenance into your lives and I hope you have enjoyed reading this record-breaking entry in Da’ KRUsader Manor‘s history…


One last shot…

“An Evening With Anuar Zain” Review…


The promotional posters for Singapore (left) and Malaysia (right). Courtesy of Playpause.

My goodness… It’s been four months since I last typed a review, the Anugerah Band competition being the last one, and this time lag of not doing one has made me all rusty in the mind. For starters, I was cracking my head on what to type about in this review. The mind started working on what things to say even before I left home for the concert. Thankfully I drew some inspiration from listening to Anuar‘s collection of songs which I had transferred to my IPOD and put it on whilst driving to the prestigious arena which is the Esplanade, where the concert was held. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those who download his songs from the Net and transfer them over to my IPOD, cos I have all three of his CDs in my collection. Listening to him along the way also helped to warm me up and refreshed my mind on some of the lyrics to his songs. When you expect yourself to be entertained at a concert, you know you’ll have to join in with the singing as well. And that’s just what I did. Kinda like trained my vocal chords as well. I dunno if the lady sitting beside me in the car appreciated her hubby’s singing-at-the-top-of-his-voice or not. But do I care??? Not one bit!!! 😛



Since its inception in 2002, this was the first time that I’ve stepped foot in the Esplanade Concert Hall, the biggest arena in the whole of the Esplanade with a capacity of 1,600. Looking at the price of the tickets, I was initially sceptical that we would get full attendance. With the end of the festive period which more than burned a hole in our pockets and taking into account that Ungu also held their own concert the previous week, an arena half full was something that played in my mind for quite some time. But how gladly wrong I was when I saw the hordes of people making their way to the concert hall. Meeting an old polytechnic-mate along the way gave an indication to how many people were in attendance as word got round that the show was a sell-out. This was certainly music to the ears and I couldn’t wait to enter the arena.



Looking around, I saw so many familiar faces, celebrities (Taufik Batisah, Juz-B, DidicazliNajip Ali, Rilla Melati, Hyrul Anuar amongst others), famous personalities from the print and electronic media, old friends, neighbours staying around the same area as us, people who had helped us during our wedding (sis Fatimah Mohsin), the list just goes on and on. I felt at home and I certainly got good vibes that the concert was gonna be an excellent one. It had to be. Anyone accorded the responsibility to grace the hallowed grounds of the Esplanade, at the Concert Hall no less, is sure to leave the audience wanting more and nothing less. So the choice to have this talented man gracing the arena was definitely the perfect one. It has been a long time coming, too long perhaps, when the likes of Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza has held 3 concerts before this and since then, he has gained so many admirers, not only amongst the female fans who can’t stop drooling at this perfectly immaculated package, but also amongst the males. I’m sure after last night, for those who had said that they were there to accompany their wives or girlfriends and that they were not fans of Anuar, the experience would have changed their minds.



The concert was backed up by a seven-piece outfit and the back-up singers made up of members of the group known as Sierra. If I’m not mistaken, Sierra are the proteges of Ferhad and they have performed before at the Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre in February 2007 along with Dina of Malaysian Idol fame, Urban Method, Sleeq and Imran Ajmain. It is not often that you get to see an all-male back-up singers outfit accompanying the concert as most back-ups tend to be all-female cast or having the fairer gender in their midst. Having an all-male back-up singers is quite rare but have been done before. I still remember attending KRU‘s 10-years’ anniversary concert at Dataran Merdeka in 2002 and seeing Phyne Ballerz backing them up. As for the sessionists, none of them seemed familiar to me like how used I am to seeing the likes of Steve Thornton on percussions, Ujang on drums, Aubrey Suwito or Jenny Chin on keyboards at Datin Sri‘s concerts. But their quality shone through throughout the night. They were tight and their hard work was amply rewarded with an excellent sound system. The acoustics and the reputation of the Esplanade demand quality to shine through and invigorate its arena.



Hafeez Glamour and Aura Shai, the current anchors of the weekday morning show on RIA 89.7FM were tasked to make the announcements in English and Malay respectively prior to the concert. One could detect how Aura Shai was trying to contain her excitement, even when she was making the announcement in measured and controlled tones. She is afterall a big fan of his and has been unashamedly telling the whole world that on radio, along with Fiza O. My only gripe with the announcements was the script in English. At times I detected a few wrongs in the sentence structure. There could have been wrongs in the grammar as well. But I’m sure the audience did not mind at all cos all they wanted to see was Anuar Zain himself. Even before he opened his mouth to sing, Anuar had the audience under his thumb. You just knew that he had them cast under his spell when shrieks and whoops were heard when they saw his silhouette waiting by the side while the sessionists began their introductory tunes to signal the start of the long-awaited concert.



From the first song, “Keabadian Cinta“, to the last, “Teman Terulung“, ok I was wrong, he came back for an encore singing his two massive hits in “Ketulusan Hati” and “Lelaki Ini” to close the concert proper, he enchanted the crowd especially the ladies with that rich voice of his, which to me has no peers, with all due respect to people like Hazami and all the other R&B princes in Malaysia. If Glenn Fredly is the undisputed “King of Indonesian R&B“, then Anuar Zain is his Malaysian counterpart bar none. Anuar belongs to that exclusive club of singers who do not need to have dance steps in his repertoire to win over the crowd. His voice alone, is enough to captivate the audience and lull us into dreamland. When he starts those lung-busting lines, the hair at the back of your neck is bound to stand at how impeccable and perfect his vocals can be and appreciate what a polished diamond this guy is. Ask around all the R&B princes in Singapore and Malaysia, I dare say ALL of them look up to Anuar Zain as their source of inspiration. My love for this genre also includes him as one of my inspirations.



If you are a fan of the man and have his albums, you’ll know that he does not have that many fast tempo songs. But he did sing them as much as he could. Songs like “Suria & Siarra“, “Bila Resah“, “Permata” and “Kau Bunga Cintaku” at least livened up the atmosphere and added on to that feel-good vibes that all of us were feeling. I just wished that he had closed the concert on an even bigger high had he sung the latter towards the end rather than in the middle of the show. Normally concerts end with a punchy number rather than a sedated one like “Lelaki Ini” but I know the audience couldn’t care less about that fact. A pity though that “Cinta Itu Terindah“, “Bidadari” and “Musim Berlalu“, three of my favourites in his collection were not sung at the concert. The audience was also more responsive and more outgoing as compared to watching someone like Datin Sri. Well you can definitely see the difference when a male is on stage as compared to a female. Pandemonium is an understatement really, which is why male artistes get a lot of attention in our region. Intimacy too was the order of the day as his voice alone reached out to the masses and those with wild imaginations would have closed their eyes and imagine Anuar singing to them privately.



The husband (Wan) and wife (Nazeera) team of PlayPause. It was from their creative minds that the promotional posters and artwork for the souvenirs were conceived. They make excellent designs for concert posters, wedding invitation cards etc as well and you’d definitely like to engage them after seeing their works.Like their motto, they definitely “Do Nice Things”…


Aida with the good people of WorkHeart and Playpause… Glad to have met them again after so long…

The man himself took some time to relate his own love experience just before he sang “Kembalilah Kasih“, about how he found out he was second best after five years in a failed relationship. Some girls behind me (I’m saying girls cos I doubt their maturity level) quipped how blind and stupid the girl who dumped Anuar was. Sometimes in life, money, fame, a handsome package and a personality in someone unknown to most people can be a turn off to people close to the person. And what is written up there should not be challenged and chastised. Fate decreeds that the girl is better off with someone else and Anuar himself is better off alone for now. You’ll never know he might be getting someone much better than the previous one. God knows best what’s good and not for all of us. I know who this girl is Anuar was talking about, if it’s who I think it was he was referring, but I’m not gonna say it out, even if you try to squeeze and poke me into revealing her identity. All I can say is, she’s very much happy now in her own life. The story and the emotion-filled song which ensued were too much for some people as I heard sniffs all around me and even the lady in front of me as well as the one on my left (Aida was seated to my right) were seen dabbing their eyes with tissue.


Mr “Rela Setia” (Didicazli) was in attendance…


So too did Rilla Melati, looking fiery red last night…


Hyrul: “I thought you were sitting next to me again bro…” Yes it’s been half a year since we last met and sat next to each other at Datin Sri‘s concert… Man how time flies… Glad to have met you again bro…

It has been a long journey for Anuar Zain in the music industry. His music career which has spanned a decade, actually more than two decades if you were to count his duet albums with Ellina when they were kids and later on in their late teens, was amply rewarded when he was given this great opportunity to perform at the Esplanade. Yes, he might have performed at corporate events, hi-tea functions, be a guest artiste in outdoor shows and Anugerah Planet Muzik here in Singapore before this, but the fact remained, he still had not held his own concert on our shores. Which is why I share Anuar‘s apparent peeve and disappointment that none of the Malaysian media were around to witness this landmark event in his music career. I won’t say that I’m his greatest fan but I’ve always been in awe of his talents and that rich voice of his ever since it matured and his old hit “Kesan Kelukaan” was a hit in the early 90s. I even styled my own way of singing resembling a bit of his, if you ever get the opportunity to hear me sing. 🙂


This is “Sulaiman Akhlaken“, one of RIA‘s most ardent listeners.


This is the guy who is crazy over Dayang Nurfaizah, none other than “Mat Gila“…


Another one of the listeners, Mr “Hensem Gila“… The beam on his face tells a story of a proud father-to-be… Congrats for hitting the bulls-eye bro… 😛

Speaking of “Kesan Kelukaan“, for those of you who were at the concert, I was the one who instigated him into singing that song. A pity that in my excitement and awe that he heard me and asked how does the song goes, I was momentarily stunned and forgot the lyrics till a friend who was coincidentally seated next to Aida reminded me. By then Anuar had shifted his attention to another part of the audience for a quick reminder as he too had forgotten the lyrics to the song. To his credit, as he tried to sing the song and with a little help from the audience, the lyrics came back to him slowly but surely. You can’t fault him for forgetting his own song cos it’s been ages since he last sang it. Finally I am proud to say that I have been a part of this historical landmark in Anuar Zain‘s career and this experience will long be etched in my mind for years to come. I’m sure for those of you who were part of the 1,600 audience, you’d agree and share my sentiments as well. I don’t think the numerous standing ovations that we accorded the man towards the end were enough, he definitely deserved more. A pity though that we were not allowed to have a photograph or autograph taking session at the end of the concert.


And this is Aida and “Nana CCK“, the proud mother-to-be…


This is what happens whenever we listeners meet up. We’ll always have some crazy poses in store…

P.S. For the record, the concert was brought to you by the good people of “Heads Up!“, Singtel MIO TV, Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM being the official radio stations, The Body Shop being the Official Make Up, Manja being the Official Magazine, Amara Hotel being the Official Hotel of the event and PlayPause for the creative artwork on the posters and the souvenirs. A job well done to one and all and a big thank you for making this happen and for making it a resounding success. Now let’s have it on DVD shall we???


Fiza O goofing around with Anuar‘s caricature…


After goofing, the ladies finally take a photograph…


Last photo of the night with Aura Shai



Earlier in the day, we received some distinguished guests to our home. Sort of like a belated Raya-cum-housewarming visit. Really pleased to have them over. 2 hours plus and we still had so much to talk about, especially on the topic of ghosts. Hope the hospitality had been good bro Esman & sis Nura and thank you for coming over. We definitely love your company!!!