Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 Recap…

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(Promotional graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

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

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

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

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

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Fadli Kamsani and Suharti Amy

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

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

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Muhammad Mursyid and Yaya Hamid…

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

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

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Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa…

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

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

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Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2

Pesta Perdana 13 Snapshots

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It has been a fortnight since Pesta Perdana 13 was upon us. A lot of post-event thoughts and comments were made on the winners or what happened during the event itself, some of which have been downright vile and preposterous in my opinion, but that is something I will discuss on another day. I am still in the midst of editing the 3400-odd photographs I snapped that night but just to satiate your wait, I’ll be sharing selected photographs I took during the pre-event cocktail reception, during commercial breaks as well as during the post-event reception in this entry. Hope this will be a good filler before I share my after-thoughts… 🙂

Anugerah Skrin 2010 Variety Show Episode 7 Recap…

I know I have been away for a bit too long. Can’t be helped when the life is a bit topsy-turvy at the moment, plus the World Cup!!! Blogging is kinda far away from my mind and it’s only now that I have the time to blog on last week’s Anugerah Skrin 2010 Variety Show. Good thing too that this week there is a reprieve with the Bootcamp going on or to be more precise, had gone on the previous weekend, which some of you might have caught last Tuesday on Suria. Anugerah Skrin 2010 Variety Episode 7 cum Results Show saw another two contestents being eliminated from the competition. With just a few weeks away from seeing new winners, male and female emerging from the pool of potential talents, the competition has by now begun to show who has the potential to go all the way or fall by the wayside in the weeks to come.

Anugerah 2005 winner, Hyrul Anuar, was the guest artiste of the week. He debuted his latest single “Mata“, inspired by the 80s hit sung by Noor Kumalasari.

In what has become a bit of a fortnightly tradition, the judges seemed to reserve their spicy bits towards Group B, even though they were meant for Group A as well. Resident judge Khairudin Samsudin (Khai) noted even though Group B had the stronger pool of potential talents, some were still taking things for granted and not maximising on their given roles. Singling out Syirah, Diana and Firuz as excellent, he gave a warning shot to the rest to start bucking up or better not turn up to the bootcamp. Adding on just before the results of the eliminated two were announced, he told them to be more creative with their roles and to come out from their comfort zones.

The customary weekly welcome getting underway…

Rilla Melati continued where Khai left off and alluded to the possibility of them taking things for granted due to overconfidence, a kind of feeling that they do not need to work hard as they already have a sound fanbase to rely upon. She stressed that at this juncture, the quantity of fans is not important, but their loyalty and trueness which are paramount. Rilla praised Diana and Syirah for being standout performers. Zooming in on Erwin and Nasriah, she felt that they were putting a form of self-censorship on themselves by not giving their all. Focusing on the latter, she felt unsure if Nasriah‘s passiveness was hampered by spiritual aspects and needs to show some confidence in her portrayal of roles.

Our guest judge for this round, Azhar Nor Lesta, agreed with the resident judges that Group B was much better in terms of delivery and execution. Like the week before last when he addressed the Group A contestants, Azhar repeated his advice on them minding their respective attitudes and discipline on and off-screen. Stressing upon the fact that they are future flag-bearers of the country’s acting industry and heirs to replacing the older generation of actors, Azhar reminded the contestants to always remember who they are in that “Once an artiste, they are always an artiste“. Ending his speech, Azhar urged the contestants to continue giving off their best and even if they did not win the competition, they would still have his respect for good attitude and discipline shown.

Smiling for the cameras before the dreaded announcements were made…

Looking at the cull last week, I was not surprised at Nasriah‘s elimination. In fact I had more or less expected it since the last round ended, as she had flirted with the Bottom 4 placing in the previous two rounds and it was just a matter of time before she got the axe. Likewise Aziela Roza should be mindful of her position in the coming weeks ahead, as she has also been in a precarious position in the first elimination round. Nasriah, being the most unique contestant by virtue of being the only one wearing the hijab, could at least be heartened by the fact that her uniqueness would put her in good stead in future, if a role calls for someone who dons the hijab or she could be used as the face for modelling fashionwear for the Muslimahs.

From the start I felt that by wearing the hijab, there will be a limited number of roles she could carry off convincingly and without contradicting herself, whether to her liking or dictated by the directors. Additionally with the wearing of the veil, it becomes a responsibility to live up to. Expectations by the viewers would be that of someone who is gentle, demure and no touchy-feely with their fellow actors, at least over here in Singapore where we are stricter and expect hijab-wearing ladies to mind their Ps and Qs, unlike those across the Causeway where they can get away with shaking the hands of those from the opposite sex and wear short-sleeved t-shirts for example. Even Berita Minggu raised the issue last Sunday about the behaviour of a fraction of tudung-clad ladies out there.

I found this shot simply hilarious as Syirah still had the presence of mind to smile for the cameras even though tears were streaming down her cheeks…

I guess that could be why Rilla alluded to her dual persona and confusion in whether to go all out or otherwise and whether she was hampered by having to juggle between her spiritual beliefs and public expectations. On a positive aspect, she could be happy that she is the first person since Norazela Rosli to break through to the latter rounds of a reality competition when we all know how difficult it is for the public to accept someone wearing the hijab being in the entertainment line and having to mind themselves of their restrictions as well as the expectations and responsibilities that come with it, not only on-screen but off-screen as well.

The ousted two…

I was however a little surprised with Aidil‘s elimination. Along with Firuz and Erwin, his position had been more or less safe before this and I thought for the guys, he was one of the slightly better performers. Coupled with the fact that he had never been in a position where he was amongst the Bottom 4 before this, his position would be safe. But come to think about it, the judges had said that if he were to proceed to the next round, he would have to put in at least 500% effort. Upon reflection, the guillotine actually befell on both Aidil and Nasriah during the judges’ comments’ segment. The judges’ comments were clear indicators that both did not score highly with them. But there’s still time yet for both to improve and brush up on their skills and I know I won’t see the last of them on our television screens just yet. Till then… 

Anugerah Skrin 2010 Variety Episode 6 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2010 Variety Episode 5 cum Results Show was a fresh twist in terms of venue. Thanks to the unavailability of the smaller studios that had been host to the show since the start of the current season over a month ago, for this past week only, the show was held at the bigger confines of the Mediacorp TV Theatre. It was definitely a welcome change and a venue which I much prefer as it is more spacious, and thus allowing more people to attend and support their favourite contestants. Two more contestants – Mohamad Idris & Mariah Mahfar – were eliminated from the competition by the end of the show.

Nana was the guest artiste this past week, as she performed her latest single “Aku Milikmu“. A pleasure to finally meet and chat with her in person albeit for a short while after the show…

After a somewhat tensed episode last week, the judges were much nicer this week with their comments. Nevertheless their pearls of wisdom were still words to savour as they pointed out the glaring flaws which the contestants need to improve on. Guest judge Azhar Nor Lesta, even though he is a man of few words, rammed home the fact that the contestants need to brush up on their command and understanding of the Malay language as they are afterall, performing in the medium. He was particularly disturbed by the pronunciation of a basic word like “hela” which the contestants had mispronounced at the start of the show during the short introductory skit. He stressed on the fact that they should read Berita Harian and Malay books / novels religiously to strengthen their vocabulary and understanding of the language.

For the first time in the competition, I observed no coincidences with regards to these kind of poses and shots I took.

Adding on slighly later when asked by resident host Huda Ali what tips he could give the contestants who have advanced to the quarter-finals stage, he gave two important elements that they should have within themselves – Discipline and Team Player – traits that have been stressed upon them throughout the competition. If they were to follow these two important traits and have them wherever they go, then God willing, they would be successful in their craft. He could not have said it better when he alluded to the fact that it is all fine and dandy if one were to be a good actor but if they lack these elements, nobody would want to work with them. I guess these two points have been repeated over and over again and it could be heard again in the weeks to come.

Khairudin Samsudin (Khai) observed throughout the five weeks of competition so far, there were those who were attentive to the tips and advices given, which translated to improvements being made, with two to three unnamed contestants showing progress. There were also those whose performance levels just seemed to dip as the weeks go on. Khai added on that there should also be a “Master & Slave” element, which is the ability to be in control of the situation and time given during their respective scenes, when to grasp and be the focal point and when to step back.

As for my favourite judge Rilla Melati, she noted that some of the contestants were ready to step up into the quarter-finals, but still sees room for more improvements to be made. She said that she is beginning to see the potentials and commercial value in Halimah Yahaya and Biwa Mastura. An important tip that she passed on was, the contestants have to be mindful of their surroundings, to observe and use real-life events or personal experiences as points-of-reference. Adding on, she urged them to invest in upgrading themselves on how to look better with regards to skincare and the usage of make-up, as with the advancement of technology and the upcoming age of high-definition television, their facial presentation would be magnified even more to the watching audience.

Congratulations to Halimah Yahaya, Sakinah Rahim, Biwa Mastura, Shahril Kahar, Muhammad Dzar and Raja Razie for making it to the quarter-finals and a chance to improve themselves further in the Bootcamp. By the way, the Anugerah Skrin Top 12 contestants will make an appearance at the Anugerah Skrin 2010 Roadshow which is to be held at East Point Mall on Saturday 12th June 2010 between 3-6pm. The guest artiste thus far confirmed to perform that day will be Roze Kasmani

Charity Football Fiesta 2009…

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

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

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Huda Ali and Luqman Nurhakim introducing the two teams…

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

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

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

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

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

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    Tepak Sireh dancers performing during the half-time break…

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

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    Team Malek Awab enjoying their breather…

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

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    Fuad Rahman performing his hit song “Bayu“…

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

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

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

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

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

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    Silat performance by Persatuan Silat Singapura (Persisi) exponents…

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

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

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

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

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    The one minute silence in memory of Allahyarham Borhan Abu Samah

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

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

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

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    The players waiting for the second half to begin…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE OF THE SAME PLEASE NEXT YEAR!!!