Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo Gala Premiere Screening Event

We are slightly more than three weeks into the new calendar year. It’s been three months since my last post and I know I still owe entries on Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 as well as originally-planned reviews for Ruffedge‘s and Anuar Zain‘s concerts. Unfortunately, my home PC picked an inauspicious time to go bust, so I was rendered PC-less for some time, hence I was unable to do any updates till I’ve gotten myself a new one. However, it’s been a quarter of a year gone by, and frankly speaking, whatever I owe my readers are old news by now. So I’ll keep my thoughts on APM2018 till the next one comes around (if it does) or maybe I’ll hold my peace forever, if rumours of it being consigned to history books are true. As for the Ruffedge concert, all I can say is, it was a blast and one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended for the fact that I had absolute access to snap photos from close-up without having security or organisers stopping me from doing so. Even the fans had a whale of a night. How many sit-down concerts here can you say that audience are allowed to stand up, dance and sway without having security bugging you to sit down??? Can’t wait for the next Shiraz Project concert here in March with a certain number one singer from Malaysia

The cast of the “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” seen here with their executive producers, Safiyuddin Razif and Nusaibah Abdul Rahim (fourth and fifth from the left)…

Sorry for taking a whole paragraph rambling. Now that I got the explanation for my missing-in-action out of the way, let’s start 2019’s first entry with a gala premiere screening event I attended slightly more than a fortnight ago on 4 January 2019 at the Gallery Theatre of National Museum of Singapore. This screening event was jointly held by Mediacorp Suria and local production company, Poetry In Motion, to promote the blockbuster drama series, “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo“, which has already been aired on the national free-to-air channel since 9 January 2019. This drama series stars award-winning actor, Hasnul Rahmat, Nurul Aini, Norman Ishak, Jeff Catz, Hamidah Wahab, Fir Rahman, Adlina Adil, Shenty Feliziana, Bella Putri as well as sees the return of Rima Melati Adams on our television screens after a decade-long hiatus. The show also sees the introduction of Malaysian model-host-actress-rapper Amelia Henderson, who bears a very striking resemblance to international film star Gal Gadot as well as several Bosnian actors and actresses. This drama series is directed and written by the husband-and-wife team of Faisal Ishak and Umie Isa, no strangers already on these shores.

RIA 89.7FM‘s morning show presenters, Nity Baizura and Hans Ashrie, were the hosts at the gala premiere screening event…

Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” drifts between modern day and flashbacks from the 90s when Bosnia-Herzegovina was plunged into a civil war and mass ethnic cleansing. The aforementioned war serves as the backdrop to the story being told in this drama series, centering on its main protagonist, Rahman Iskander (played by both Norman Ishak and Hasnul Rahmat) and how he was separated from his Bosnian wife Zana (played by Alisa Brkic and Olivera Blazevic) when the war broke out in Sarajevo where he was based. He was tortured at the hands of the Serbs but was eventually released and returned back to Singapore after being found and rescued by the United Nations‘ peacekeeping force. He went on to rebuild his life and eventually got married to supermodel Ramona (played by Rima Melati Adams), but he continues to pine and yearn for his lost love, slipping into depression as a result. Well that’s the gist of the story that I can relate to you having watched the brief 70-minute screening on the gala premiere night where a bulk of the scenes shown to the audience were from the first three episodes.

Director Faisal Ishak relating to the audience some of the challenges faced during the filming. With him are Executive Producers, Safiyuddin Razif and Nusaibah Abdul Rahim

What I am impressed about the drama series are the breathtaking scenery of Sarajevo, the cinematography, the visual quality of the series which resembles more like a movie than a drama series and of course the pace of how the storyline is being told, which feels just about right. If there are some shortcomings or minor lackings, I would have to say, the CGI effects could have been done much better. But we all know to implement CGI-effects into a production is not cheap and will probably take several production or animation houses to get it right. I think with the budget that they were working at, it should be applauded that a local production house was able to achieve the kind of positive qualities that I mentioned at the start of this paragraph. The gala screening event also had several sections of displays showcasing some of the props used in the drama production as well as serving Bosnian delicacies to go along with the main spread. Truly they pulled all the stops for us to immerse ourselves into the drama series even before it was shown proper on television.

One for the album with the main cast, writer, director, executive producers, soundtrack singer, hosts of the event and new Mediacorp Head Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Community and Content Groups, Mdm. Sabariah Ramilan (centre)…

Some of my closest friends who know my character and how much I appreciate beauty might say I would have been smittened by Amelia Henderson. They might probably be right, having seen and talked to her up close and personal that night, but they are far from the truth actually. The one who caught my eyes the most with her innocence and honesty in delivering her lines was none other than young Bella Putri, the child star who is making her acting debut in this drama series, her first foray in the local Malay entertainment scene, having done several commercial ads and voiceovers for other productions. One could easily hear the audience warming to her with sighs of “Awwww…” every time she came onscreen to speak, moreso when there was a particular scene where she was scolded by her uncle Rahman for dropping his prized painting on the floor. I think this little girl’s career is just about to get a major upturn henceforth and we’ll probably be seeing more of her on television. Try looking out for the commercial advertisement on Changi Airport‘s Terminal 4 and you’ll see this cute little one prancing around in the trailer.

Marcell singing the official soundtrack titled “Cinta Tersembunyi“…

The gala screening of “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” was not complete without the presence of Indonesian heart-throb and soul crooner Marcell Siahaan, the singer of its soundtrack titled “Cinta Tersembunyi“. It’s like a nice package when you get Rima Melati to act in the drama series, you complete it by involving her husband to compose and sing the soundtrack to the series as well. And what a lovely composition the song is! I instantly fell in love with the song and as I watched the scenes unfolding during the screening as well as the first two episodes that have already been aired, I began to understand the meaning of its lyrics better. I won’t be surprised if this song is to be nominated in 2021‘s Pesta Perdana for Best Soundtrack. For the record, “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” airs every Wednesday evenings at 9:30pm on Mediacorp Suria.  Would just like to say well done to the whole production team at Poetry in Motion and let’s hope they will produce more good programmes like this! Thank you too Mediacorp Suria for inviting yours truly to the gala premiere screening! 🙂

Snapshots of “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” Gala Premiere Screening


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 Pink Carpet Event

Back with the second instalment of my APM2018 photo series. Apologies you had to wait more than a week for this even though I had shared them more than a week ago if you’re following me on Instagram or even my personal Facebook account. My social media followers are usually more fortunate to be able to view them much earlier. Actually I wanted to post this entry on Monday but was tied down with work, as well as assisting Berita Harian in selecting the appropriate photographs for their article on Ruffedge‘s 20th Anniversary Concert held at Zepp @ Big Box, which I had the opportunity to have attended as well as provided photo coverage. I’ll be sharing more of that concert somewhere down the road, most probably after Anuar Zain‘s upcoming one at the end of the month. Without further ado, here are the photos I snapped during the Pink Carpet event prior to Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 held at the MES Theatre @ MediaCorp Campus on 28th September 2018.

An Evening with the Stars Media Conference & Promo

(Graphics promo poster courtesy of Impact Music Entertainment)

We are three days away from this Mothers’ Day event happening at Persada Johor International Convention Centre and I just realised that I have not had the time to make a proper promo entry for this showcase, even though I had attended its media conference on 2nd April 2018 at Ballroom @ East Coast by A B Shaik. I was kindly invited to the event by the good people at Impact Music Entertainment. Knowing me, I usually do not cover events pertaining to artistes from across the Causeway unless they are the ones I personally love and since Anuar Zain is one of them, it was a no-brainer for me. But the clincher for me to attend this media conference was ultimately seeing our very own Fauzie Laily on that poster, as this domain afterall prioritises featuring of local acts. It is a proud moment indeed to see him about to rub shoulders on the same stage as two legends in the regional music scene, Zamani SLAM being the other slated performer.

Anuar Zain and Fauzie Laily sharing a light-hearted moment with the media brigade in attendance…

Aptly dubbed “An Evening With The Stars“, this Mothers’ Day showcase organised by E & F Event Resources, is geared towards contributing to charity through the Dato’ Rokiah Lace Foundation. This foundation was set up to help the less fortunate, orphans, senior citizens and single mothers residing in Johor Bahru. The foundation is also known to have built schools for would-be Tahfiz and also mosques for the Muslim community in Johor Bahru. Hence if you might feel a little taken aback by the somewhat expensive ticket prices, just think how much you will stand to benefit the number of people through your kind deeds, besides getting the chance to enjoy a night of good quality entertainment by Anuar Zain, Zamani and Fauzie Laily. I understand from the media conference, each artiste will be performing a minimum of three songs each and I’m sure there will be segments where they will be singing together either as a pair or a combined trio, not seen anywhere before this.

The media conference panel (from left): Zell Sazalie (Impact Music Entertainment), Shaik Mohd (Ballroom @ East Coast by A B Shaik), Afendi Hassan (E & F Event Resources), Anuar Zain, Fauzie Laily, Mr. Yusnor Ef (President, PERKAMUS), Dato’ Paduka Hajjah Rokiah Omar (Chairman, Yayasan LACE Dato’ Rokiah), Joyce Yap (Director Sales, Persada International Centre, Johor Bahru)…

Something unique about this media conference was the presence of several local vloggers, a rising trend in this day and age of social media. Though I did not get the chance to interact with any of them, I am aware of their strong following on their respective social media platforms. Hopefully their respective on-the-spot live promos that day would help in the ticket sales for this showcase. I believe if this showcase were to be held in Singapore, they might also get a decent crowd in, given the attraction of the two Malaysian artistes, whom we Singapore fans never seemed to get enough of judging by their rousing receptions at their concerts or showcases before this. I will not bore you with the minute-by-minute detail of the media conference. Like any other, such events are meant to tease us for what is to come on the actual day itself and the two artistes who attended that day, Anuar Zain and Fauzie Laily, kept their cards close to their chest, probably not wanting to reveal much.

Both Anuar Zain and Fauzie Laily are raring to go for this showcase…

Tickets to “An Evening with the Stars” are already on sale via Ticketcharge Malaysia. Additional details can be found in the promotional poster at the beginning of this post or by logging onto the event’s official Facebook page.

Snapshots of An Evening with the Stars Media Conference

Piala Dollah Kassim 2012 – Matchday One Results…

Piala Dollah Kassim 2012 or aptly known as Dollah Kassim Charity Cup 2012, kicked off in earnest last weekend, 7th October 2012, at ITE College East (Simei). In the opening match, two-time champions Berita Harian opened their accounts by beating newbies of the tournament, Singapore Music Society, 3-0. The newbies featured familiar faces like actor / host Fadly Awaludin, and former Mediacorp Suria players, Fauzie Laily and Fadhlur Rahman. The newbies gave a good account of themselves even though it was the first time that the players came together without any prior trainings or meet-ups. The Berita Harian team, which came so close to gracing the grand final last year and lost out on goal difference to defending champions Mediacorp Suria in the qualifying round, looks like the dark horse once again to  threaten the likes of Suria as well as the team from Perkamus-COMPASS.

The Mediacorp Suria team of 2012… (photo courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

In the second match in which yours truly played, Mediacorp Suria defeated the team from Persatuan Dramatis Singapura, 6-1. I have to admit that the scoreline was a bit flattering to the defending champions, but the losing team walked away from the match with their heads held high and showed better industry and work-rate than their performance last year, when they lost 1-7 to the same team. Suria it has to be said, are still a team in transition after losing more than a third of our players from last year’s victorious team and there is still room for improvement in many areas, as the new and old players strike up some form of understanding between us in terms of passing combination and controlling of match rhythm.

(photo courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

The next round of matches will be held again at ITE College East (Simei) on 21st October 2012, with Persatuan Dramatis Singapura facing off Berita Harian in the first match at 4:00pm and Singapore Music Society playing against Perkamus-COMPASS at 5:30pm. There is however a change in venue on the third qualifying matchday on 28th October 2012. Instead of ITE College East (Simei), the matches between Mediacorp Suria and Perkamus-COMPASS, as well as Singapore Music Society and Persatuan Dramatis Singapura, will be held at ITE College Central (Balestier) at 4:00pm and 5:30pm respectively. Again, entrance to all the matches are free. So if you do not have anything happening on the days mentioned, do come down and lend the tournament your support!!!

Anyway I purposely post this entry today because it is exactly two years that my uncle, Allahyarham Abdullah Bin Mohamed Kassim, better known as Dollah Kassim, in which the charity football tournament is named after, passed on. Two years seems like a long time but it felt like yesterday that he left us all and I still recall the tribute entry I did on his passing. And I know till this day, his immediate family members on both sides still cling on to every sweet memory they have of him and will not stop to think about him daily. As his nephew who was lucky to experience his immense and exemplary kindness, sincerity and generosity for 31 years, these were traits that will live long in my memory and good examples for me to emulate. Playing in this tournament as I have said time and time again, is my personal tribute to a man who was my favourite uncle. May Allah bless his soul and place him in JannahAl-Fatihah

Piala Dollah Kassim 2012 Media Conference…

Piala Dollah Kassim (Dollah Kassim Charity Cup) returns for a fifth edition this year!!! Due to the overwhelming success of the previous two editions (2010 & 2011), the organisers, Persatuan Karyawan Muzik Singapura (PERKAMUS) has continued to build on the momentum by combining with Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) to stage this year’s event. The media session and drawing of fixture match-ups for the qualifying rounds were held this past Friday evening, 28th September 2012, at the rooftop of Singapore Press Holdings, venue of previous media sessions pertaining to the event. The guest-of-honour for the event was none other than Allahyarham Uncle Dollah‘s son and my cousin, Mohamed Ezaad Abdullah.

This year, the competition welcomes a new team from the Singapore Music Society (SGMuSo), in addition to the four existing teams from Persatuan Dramatis Singapura (Singapore Malay Dramatists Association), Berita Harian, the combined team of PERKAMUS-COMPASS as well as the defending champions, Mediacorp Suria. The tournament promises goals galore and entertainment for the fans. What’s more, the players playing in the tournament are personalities in their own rights. The new kids on the block, SGMuSo, will have the likes of Mel and Joe Ferdinands turning out for them, PERKAMUS-COMPASS will have Jeff Catz, Ikhsan Ace, Didicazli and Syarif SleeQ amongst others, whilst Dramatis will have Roslan Kemat, Amy Kecik, Helmindra J.A. Halim and Khairudin Samsudin amongst others, gracing their team.

As for the defending champions, Mediacorp Suria, who I will be turning out for for the third year running as the team’s goalkeeper, the team has gone through a bit of a transition with at least a third of the squad from the winning team last year not able to make it due to various commitments. The loss of captain and top-scorer Syed Azmir Syed Azman is perhaps the most keenly felt, along with Fauzie Laily, Dzar Ismail, Fadhlur Rahman and Taufiq Salleh, but in their place, the team welcomes five of the “First XI” boys in Muhammad Shammir (Alang), Mohamad Helmi, Mohamed Kiyasudeen, Muhammed Faliq and Muhsin Johari. Abdul Mutalib, who has been turning out for Mediacorp Suria in the previous tournaments, completes the sextet from the successful reality show early this year. The captaincy of the team has been handed down to the most senior member of the team, Rafaat Hamzah.

Guest-of-honour Mohamed Ezaad Abdullah…

I am quite happy so far with what was being briefed during the media conference pertaining to the rules of the event. Prior to the media session, representatives from the participating teams had met up with the organisers and discussed the rules and debating over niggling issues which arose from previous tournaments. I had the opportunity to sit in at one of the meeting sessions and everything was discussed in a very cordial and amicable manner. I am just pleased that some of the unhappiness which I brought up last year in my review of the tournament has been resolved and I am just looking forward to a clean and fair tournament for all. Winning is secondary, it is the spirit of charity and element of fun which we will all be looking forward to the most in this year’s tournament.

Cikgu Yusnor Ef…

Cikgu Yusnor Ef, in his opening speech, threw down a suggestion for relevant authorities like the Football Association of Singapore and National Heritage Board to take up, that is to honour past football greats in any manner possible, so that their contributions will always be remembered and appreciated by the younger generation as a form of inspiration for them to aspire to. This year, proceeds from all the public, individual and team funding will be channeled to the Singapore Children’s Society. PERKAMUS and COMPASS it must be highlighted, will bear the logistics cost and miscellaneous fees. In that respect and echoing their call, I invite you to come down and support the event. This is afterall for an extremely good cause. What’s more, entrance to all the matches is free!!!

This year the tournament will be staged at ITE College East, with the Grand Final on 2nd December 2012. A mini-concert on the day of the Grand Finals will have local artistes performing and a seven-a-side tournament organised by Bikers Aid Singapore. An all-star team from the third, fourth and fifth placed teams will also play in an exhibition match with the Parliamentarian team consisting of several Ministers and Members of Parliament. Unlike previous tournaments, ITE College East is well-equipped in every sense. They even have a cafeteria owned by former international Malek Awab, where watching fans can savour good food at affordable prices. The cafeteria even has prayer rooms for those who want to observe their obligatory prayers. I am certainly looking forward to this upcoming tournament, a chance to showcase our amateur skills to the public and at the same time, contribute to the charity cause and representing my family in memory of Allahyarham Uncle Dollah. Let the games begin!!!

Match schedule courtesy of Mediacorp Suria

Snapshots of the Piala Dollah Kassim 2012 Media Conference

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Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 Final Review…

“WE DID IT!!!”

These three words summed up all the emotions the Mediacorp Suria team felt when the referee blew the final whistle to signal the end of a pulsating final and subsequently this year’s edition of the Piala Dollah Kassim tournament, played at the Woodlands Stadium this past Sunday evening. This victory was made sweeter because as compared to last year’s team which had several friendly matches to play prior to last year’s tournament,  the whole team (those retained from last year as well as the newbies this year) only came together a week before the tournament began, whereas some teams had already begun training before Ramadhan came along. We were short of match fitness, cohesiveness and understanding on the pitch and this was evident in our two friendly matches prior to the tournament kick-off, which we drew and lost. More evidently, when we had a three-week break between the  last qualifying game and the Final last week, we could not get any friendly matches to play to sharpen up our game.

Miracle or not, perhaps it was our destiny to win this year. Whatever we lacked on the pitch, we made up for it with relentless self-belief, team spirit, a collective sense of brotherhood where there is no particular star player in the team (even though the team was sprinkling with local celebrities) and most importantly we had a mental resolve and never-say-die attitude which were hallmarks that made us this year’s champions. Five times we conceded throughout the course of this year’s tournament (three in the first game, one each in the third and Final games), but we came back to equalise and salvage our matches, and winning the Final in the process. Victory was all the more sweet because we had no S-League nor ex-international players playing for our team, because this team respects the essence and sanctity of this tournament, which is a charity event first and foremost.

Stepping foot at Woodlands Stadium brought a sense of nostalgia to myself and perhaps my family members who came to watch the match as well. This was the very venue that most of us last saw Allahyarham Uncle Dollah in action for a charity game called “Charity Football Fiesta“, between local celebrities and ex-international footballers back in February 2009. I’m sure my team-mates Taufiq Salleh and captain Syed Azmir, would remember that game as they were in the same team as Uncle Dollah. Before the match began and our team was seen huddling together for quite some time, prompting the emcees to say we were saying our prayers for good luck, they were actually half right. We did say our prayers but not for good luck.  In fact, I was extremely touched by Syed Azmir‘s kind gesture to lead the team in reciting Surah Al-Fatehah for the soul of Allahyarham Uncle Dollah. It might be a small and trivial gesture to some, but as Uncle Dollah‘s nephew and observing from a neutral perspective, it left an indelible impression on me that my team captain is a man of substance and led by example.

The team appeared relaxed prior to the game but most of us were nervous…

The game itself was a like a game of chess in the first half with both sides probing and calculative with every move made. Conditions did not help by the downpour before the game, which rendered the pitch muddy on most parts. The game had to be stopped halfway in the first half as the heavy downpour and lightning prevented us from continuing, which of course delayed the match further. The tempo only picked up in the second half when PERKAMUS scored their first goal within ten minutes after the start. I was beaten by an extremely good goal by Muhammad Farouq, even though I had dived full stretch and gotten my hands to the ball. Maybe ten years ago when I was younger, slimmer and more agile, I could have prevented it from going in. We could have easily been deflated but again as this tournament had witnessed, we came back strongly to equalise through Raja Razie and scoring the winner through Syed Azmir, capitalising on individual errors made by our strong opponents who had been controlling much of the game, while we were contented to sit back and soaked as much as we could from their forays into our area, before counter-attacking them.

Personally I am thankful that we won because it now gives me the opportunity to speak my mind about the tournament from a winning position. It is something I have been keeping inside for one whole year since the last tournament and one which I said in my earlier entries that I would voice out on a later date. The time has finally come to speak my mind. If I were to begin my rant from a losing perspective, it would be easy to condemn me as being sour grapes. While I am eternally thankful to the organiser of this tournament, PERKAMUS, for organising this charity football event by honouring my late uncle, as well as their noble efforts to bring together the media and entertainment industry in Singapore for a good cause, certain things need to be re-evaluated if they were to organise this event again in the coming years ahead. Just because Mediacorp Suria has won, does not mean certain problems and unhappiness felt by the other teams can be swept under the carpet, be forgotten and repeated all over again the following year.

Number one on the agenda is the interpretation of the tournament rules. There needs to be a clear indicator and spelling out to what can be done and what cannot be done to avoid confusion and discontent amongst teams, players and managements alike. The organiser’s decision to field an S-League player who has represented Gombak United FC, seemed to be a contentious debate throughtout the course of the tournament. When queried by the other teams, the organiser said this player’s contract with his club ended on 3 October 2011, but his Facebook profile currently states that he is a part-time footballer with Gombak United FC. Whether his contract ended then or whether he is a part-time footballer, the fact remains that he is still affiliated to a professionally-run club playing in Singapore‘s premier division and no professional club is going to take a player who does not meet their basic prerequisites, qualities that set a professional player apart from those playing amateur or social football.

The team celebrating captain Syed Azmir‘s winning goal…

Between last year’s tournament and this year’s, he had played professional football for an S-League team, so that makes him a professional player, part-time or not. It certainly left a sour taste after last year’s Final which we lost, knowing we were beaten by the presence of a professional league player who had scored twice that night. From my understanding, tournament rules stated that no player is to play for any club team in Singapore. This is a CHARITY tournament afterall, a team does not need to field professional standard players nor ex-internationals in their team to add colour to the competition nor to aid their competitive cause. There are already enough local celebrities and media personalities to make up the tournament, with invited players of amateur or social footballing background adding on to the numbers. Even more surprising were the mysterious appearances of one or two other players, who from my own personal observations, suddenly appeared in the Final but not the qualifying rounds.

I want to go on record and say I am not implying nor  accusing the organiser of cheating, never have and never intended to make it that way, even if I sound as though I am doing so. There will always be loopholes in the rules which any team can take advantage of, and they did so because the player’s contract with his club was apparently up. However, in the interest of competitive fairness and spirit of sportsmanship, I feel and I’m sure many others felt that it is  just not right, because you tend to wonder where is the level playing field when you pit professional standard players against amateurs and social footballers like us in a charity tournament??? You can argue that it is just one player and that one player does not make a team, but if this player is your team’s star and eventual tournament’s top goalscorer, it says a hell lot about his technical abilities on the pitch. Hence why the rules need to be spelt out clearly to avoid unhappiness and misunderstandings.

Our team could have taken a leaf out of the organiser’s book and invited the likes of Baihakki Khaizan (who is currently without a club) or Aide Iskandar (ex-national team captain who has had his fair share of acting stint on television) to turn out for us, but we chose not to as we respect the tournament as it is and do not see the need to make the other teams unhappy. The other teams had protested and rightly so. Personally for myself being a part of Allahyarham Uncle Dollah‘s family, I worried for the intrinsic value of this tournament as it was used in his name. The family had kindly given their blessings for this tournament to be held, it would be nice if they were also informed of the rules governing it and not just a summary of the tournament’s progress. In future if this tournament is to be held, contentious and ambiguous issues like these need to be discussed and agreed upon by all teams, counter-checked by independent sources for transparency sake and approved jointly by the organiser and the family.

Coronation time and scenes of jubilation, as Syed Azmir lifted the trophy …

All teams should also stick to the original squad of 22 that they had registered at the start of the tournament. Any changes in terms of personnel, need to be informed to all teams so that they understand why certain players suddenly appear towards the end of the tournament, when at the start they were not seen. I can understand that perhaps some players are only available on certain dates, but basic courtesy on informing still needs to be observed as a mark of respect to all teams, even if this is a charity tournament. You cannot have players appearing for one or two games disappear and have other stop-gap replacements without informing the other teams, especially if the replacements are players considered more talented and skillful. This creates resentment as to why most teams adhere to the rules while some are able to capitalise on loopholes. We would have gladly lost the tournament with pride if teams did not field players of high calibre and stature, because we know deep in our hearts, we’ve done our bit for charity and knowing we lost to players of the same amateur standard as us. Anyway our community is small, one way or another we know each other and the other person’s footballing background. Hence the need for transparency.

Another peeve that I need to bring up were the emcees of the event. We know that one of them is part of the organising team, but that should not make some of their presentation extremely bias towards their own team. A standard complaint I heard from people who were at the stadium, was that they were simply annoying and I could not agree more. The players were distracted somewhat by the irrelevant commentary by the sidelines, notably in the first half. In future, it would be best to engage emcees who know what the game is all about, who know how to differentiate between a free-kick and a penalty kick, who do not incite the opposing team by saying their players were feigning injury and acting when it was all clear to see that the injured player had his legs taken away and the offending player yellow-carded in the process. Oh not to mention, speaking in good English as well, sans grammatical errors. As an emcee, one needs to be professional, non-partisan, have some knowledge on what they are presenting and of course fluent in the language that they are speaking in.

What irked me the most was when the emcees were interviewing the Youth Olympic Team‘s football players and voicing their disapproval towards the Sports Foreign Talent Scheme. We all have our own sets of agreements or disagreements on the matter and the topic is extremely subjective in my opinion, but when you choose to disagree vehemently, do not speak in your mother tongue when before that, you had been speaking in English throughout. It is not fair to the non-Malay speaking spectators as they do not understand what was being said and it felt as though it was being made a personal conversation to spite them. Certain ethics need to be observed when presenting, you cannot just speak your mind just because the microphone is in your hands. I was just glad when informed after the game, that my young daughter had the presence of mind to march up to one of them and told them to hush and respect the time as it was Maghrib. At least the second half was a bit quieter and the players on both sides lifted their game as they could concentrate better.

The team celebrating victoriously with the trophy in hand…

Other than the three grievances I aired, I still believe and share the sentiment that PERKAMUS did a stellar job in organising this tournament once again, with the public more aware of its existence and with the increase in the number of kind sponsors supporting the event. This is also evident in the number of personalities who have come forward to be a part of this tournament. To get Woodlands Stadium to fill two-thirds of its grandstand capacity on a day it rained, was an achievement of sorts and one they could be proud of. Hopefully their noble efforts in getting proceeds for Jamiyah’s Darul Ma’wa Children’s Home will be rewarded in kind by Allah Almighty, as well as those who had come forward to support the event in cash and kind. For the record, Berita Harian beat Dramatis 9-1 in the third and fourth-placed match played in good-hearted fashion and humour enjoyed by everyone watching.

Personally it was a satisfying experience for me having gone through the heartache and disappointment of losing last year’s Final, having clawed our way back to 2-2 after being 0-2 down at the break, and losing with four minutes to spare. For amateurs like us who can only dream of playing in front of a packed audience, this was the closest we could get to experiencing playing in such a setting. Having players you respected when you were young and watched them play in the Malaysia Cup, watching you in the stands like Hasnim Haron and Syed Faruk Alkaff amongst others, was simply inspirational and lifted my confidence somewhat. I was just fortunate that aside from the goal I conceded, everything went my way because I am often prone to the odd gaffe on the pitch. It helped that the whole team worked hard for each other and continued encouraging and cajoling one another when our opponents led the game.

To the whole Mediacorp Suria team – Syed Azmir (captain), Mohd Fazlan, Miur Rafik, Ikhsan, Mohd Idris, Kassim Jamid, Abdul Mutalib, Raja Razie, Idros Jamid, Rafaat Hamzah, Khairul Ruzaini, Razif Ariff, Shahril Kahar, Shahril Wahid, Fadhlur Rahman, Muhd Dzar, Taufiq Salleh, Effandy Idris, Firdaus Salleh, Aidil Jufri and Fauzie Laily – It was an extreme honour to be on the pitch with you guys as we finally brought the trophy home for the very first time. We might have only played together for six games in total (including our two friendly games), but the spirit and camaraderie we forged was something I would remember and treasure for a long time to come. To manager Ishak Jamid, thank you for inviting me to keep goal for the team and representing my family in the process. To the supporters, especially our family members, who had shouted themselves hoarse last Sunday, this win is dedicated to each and everyone of you. Enjoy the video highlights of the Final match!!!


P.S. All photographs are courtesy of Mediacorp Suria

Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 Final Preview…

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I know this blog has not been updated for about a month now and I make no apologies as I have not been attending any entertainment-related events of late. After three gruelling round of qualifying matches in this year’s Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament, we have finally come to tomorrow’s penultimate game, a repeat of last year’s Final. Last year, Mediacorp Suria narrowly lost the game 2-3, conceding the third goal with four minutes to spare, after brilliantly coming back to equalise, having gone into the half-time break 0-2 down. You can be sure that Mediacorp Suria will put up a gallant fight tomorrow to dethrone the defending champions.

We have a better team as compared to last year, with all due respect to the rest who played, and it is up to us now to prove that we can do one better than them. Let’s hope that tomorrow’s game will be a clean fight, with no petty fights and no overzealous tackles being dished out. Our first qualifying game with them last month and the Final last year were matches that gave the spectators feasts of goals, and tomorrow’s game promises to continue that trend. So if you have nothing on, please do come down to Woodlands Stadium and witness the champion of Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 being crowned. In the meantime, enjoy the overdue highlights of the last qualifying match between Mediacorp Suria & Berita Harian on 23 October 2011

Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 Qualifying Match – Mediacorp Suria vs Dramatis…

The second round of qualifying matches in this year’s Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 tournament was played last Sunday at the Singapore Polytechnic Sports Complex. The first match between defending champions PERKAMUS and Berita Harian ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Berita Harian, the champions in the first two editions of the tournament but a disappointment in the last one, have shown they are the dark horses that could upset the favourites tag currently being held by PERKAMUS and Mediacorp Suria. Definitely this  coming Sunday‘s tie between them and Mediacorp Suria will decide who would enter the Grand Final on 20 November 2011, as PERKAMUS is expected to win by a cricket score against the Dramatis team, with all due respect to this humble outfit. As the table stands at the moment, Mediacorp Suria is sharing top spot with Berita Harian on 4 points each but with a better goal difference.

The second match played between Mediacorp Suria and Dramatis last Sunday ended with a score of 7-1, in favour of the former. Berita Harian had misreported the final score as 6-1 in their publication yesterday, but it could have been a slight error on their part. Syed Azmir, captain of Mediacorp Suria and last year’s Golden Boot winner, finally got his tournament going with a hat-trick scored in the space of 15 minutes in the first half. Two goals apiece by Raja Razie and Firdaus Salleh have now elevated them to three goals in the tournament, sharing the same number of goals scored as Syed Azmir and Shahrin Azhar from the Dramatis team, when he notched a hat-trick in the 3-8 defeat to Berita Harian the previous week.

Speaking of Shahrin Azhar, I hope he does not take my video highlights the wrong way. The segment where he stormed off the pitch, seemingly unhappy with the referee’s decisions and then retaliating against a rowdy spectator, could in one way, show the negative side of him. But artistes are normal human beings too. You see amateur and professional players retaliating against each other, against the referee for what they deem as biased decisions. Even professional players retaliate against the crowd when their heckling gets a bit too much. No, I do not condone Shahrin‘s retaliation towards that spectator, but I hope those who watched would understand why as a normal human being, he did what he did and would more or less sympathise. This is a charity tournament afterall, that kind of heckling by the watching spectator had no place in the stands, depicting how uncivilised some people can be, and only served to add fuel to the fire already raging inside. Thankfully common sense prevailed and nothing serious happened afterwards. My respect for Shahrin has not diminished because of this episode.

This Sunday‘s last round of qualifying matches will be an exciting affair between Berita Harian and Mediacorp Suria. That match will kick off at 3pm whilst the Dramatis and PERKAMUS teams will face off at 5pm. Goals galore is expected so head down to Singapore Polytechnic Sports Complex if you have nothing on that day. In the meantime, enjoy the video highlights…

P.S. Graphics and photographs are courtesy of Mediacorp Suria

Piala Dollah Kassim 2011 Qualifying Match – Mediacorp Suria vs PERKAMUS…

The tournament has finally kicked off in earnest this past Sunday afternoon at the Singapore Polytechnic Sports Complex with the first round of matches played. The first match between Berita Harian and Dramatis was a high-scoring affair with the former coming away 8-3 winners. Though I did not watch the whole match, from what I heard, Berita Harian raced to a 6-1 lead at half-time and eased off during the second half. All three goals scored by the Dramatis team were courtesy of actor-host Shahrin Azhar, a feat not lost on Mediacorp Suria, and a player who will be given extra attention when facing the Dramatis team this coming Sunday.

The Mediacorp Suria team… 

The second match, which I was involved in, was another high-scoring affair with Mediacorp Suria and defending champions, PERKAMUS, sharing the spoils with the scoreline of 3-3. The match was end-to-end stuff with both sides not relenting. Thrice Mediacorp Suria conceded, only to pick ourselves up and grabbed equalisers for every goal PERKAMUS scored, with Raja Razie‘s free-kick goal, the pick of the six goals scored during the match. The match had its robust moments given the nature of the competitiveness between both sides. The flashpoint of the robustness being the two-footed challenge dished out in the second half by PERKAMUS‘ captain, Jeff Catz, who was promptly given his marching orders, but generally the game was played in good spirits, with no heated moments of note.

The PERKAMUS team… 

Even when I was crudely tackled by one of their strikers towards the end of the match, I felt that it was inevitable as it was a 50-50 challenge, though it has to be said the referee should have given me more protection being the goalkeeper and advantage was supposed to be on my side. The only downside is that the injury sustained to my thigh has put me in doubt to play this coming Sunday. I have been doing thirty laps in the pool religiously for the past three nights to aid my therapy, so God willing I would be fine by then. There is still some pain when I press against my thigh and the bruise marks are still there, so it’s touch and go at the moment.

Even though I said the match was played in good spirits, the ugly aspect of the tournament which I had been unhappy about since last year, reared its ugly head again. Due to confidentiality issues, I will not state what it is till a later date. I am just surprised that the defending champions this year are much different in terms of personnel, as compared to the last where they had more singers and musicians in their line-up. This year, I only recognise Jeff Catz, Iskandar R. Ismail (Eiss) and Aan from Knightwings (Anugerah Band 2008). There might be others in the team whom I do not recognise, thanks in part to my probable ignorance to the local band scene, but those three I mentioned were the standouts, other than ex-international Nasiruddin Sawardi and their team manager Art Fazil.

This Sunday, the first match at 3pm will pit Berita Harian against PERKAMUS and the latter match at 5pm between Mediacorp Suria and Dramatis. Again, all matches will be played at the Singapore Polytechnic Sports Complex. All graphics and photographs included in this entry are courtesy of Mediacorp Suria. Enjoy the highlights video of the match between Mediacorp Suria and PERKAMUS which my wife had kindly taken that day…

Official Launch of Piala Dollah Kassim 2011…

It’s back once again!!! Piala Dollah Kassim, a charity football tournament involving the local Malay media and television personalities, which was successfully held last year, makes its return again this year. Now into its fourth edition since it was first conceived and incepted in 2002, the tournament this year has broken the norm of previous years’ editions in having it a year after the last one. Previously the tournament was held once every two years, with a gap of six years between the first and the second editions. I believe due to the success and support from last year’s tournament, especially the Grand Final where two thousand-odd people witnessed it at Yishun Stadium, it is only natural that it has been changed to an annual affair. But for how long it will remain that way, it’s up to the organisers, PERKAMUS, who have worked hard to make it happen again this year. For that, they deserve every pat on the back they get.

The coveted trophy…

This year’s event is probably an emotional one for myself and of course the family of Allahyarham Uncle Dollah. Regular readers of this blog would know by now the family ties that we share as his wife and my mother are sisters. This will be the first time the event is held without him around anymore. Even when he was in a state of coma and bedridden last year, I felt his presence and spirit cheering me on from the stands when I played for the Mediacorp Suria team as its goalkeeper. There were good and bad memories from last year’s tournament, the good of course being able to play in front of a near capacity crowd and the bad, well I’ll just leave it as that, but I tend to take positives out of the few bad ones. This year, I will reprise my role as the team’s custodian once again. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mediacorp Suria for placing their faith in me and it is an absolute honour to represent my family and play in the tournament again.

The launch was hosted by Rosley Jimaen and Deanna Manto

Once again the tournament will be a four-cornered fight between Berita Harian, Dramatis, Mediacorp Suria and the organisers as well as the defending champions themselves, PERKAMUS. The draw to determine the respective match fixtures was recently held at the rooftop of the Singapore Press Holdings‘ building on 25th September 2011. Representatives and several players from the respective teams graced the occasion, not forgetting the various kind sponsors of the event. This year, the beneficiary organisation who will receive the proceeds from the event will be Darul Ma’wa Children’s Home. Several side-events and carnival have been lined up during the days of the qualifying matches and these are kindly organised by the good people of Bikers’ Aid International, a professional fundraiser and charity organising management consisting of 40 motor clubs with mixed races and genders from 3000 motorcycles members here in Singapore and Malaysia.

Cikgu Yusnor Ef with the opening speech…

Though I will not delve much on what happened during the launch per se, it was heartening to hear the President of PERKAMUS, Cikgu Yusnor Ef, appealing to other organisers of football-related events not to misuse the good name of Uncle Dollah and also to seek his family’s approval before using his name for their respective events. I’m sure older readers of this blog would remember how I went on a ranting spree last year, when some irresponsible people came up with the idea of having a football academy using Uncle Dollah‘s name without seeking his family’s approval. And it was just last week that our family found out that a football competition organised in Tampines also used his name without seeking prior approval. We’re not trying to be high-handed, but I’m sure nobody likes others to use one’s own family members’ names without first seeking permission. Like what Cikgu Yusnor said, “Do not misuse his name to the point that it becomes devalued and cheap…” As a family, we do not want Uncle Dollah‘s name to be used by any organisation for their own benefits. Uncle Dollah was a generous man, any event organiser that uses his name in future should take note that any proceeds from their event, must go to a charity organisation. Over the years, the family has been working closely and have absolute trust in PERKAMUS, because they have been doing the right thing.

Uncle Dollah‘s son, Ezaad, urged all players to check their fitness and health before taking onto the pitch so as to prevent a similar occurence of what happened to Uncle Dollah back on 4th Oct 2009.

I do not know who will be playing in the other teams, other than Nick Mikhail, Izzat Yusoff, Amy Kecik, Khairudin Samsudin, Faizal Ramli amongst others, playing for the Dramatis team and Jeff Catz for PERKAMUS. But I’m quite confident that our Mediacorp Suria team, with the injection of new players from the Anugerah Skrin 2010 competition, and retaining half of those who represented the team last year, will try and give the defending champions a run for their money. This year Mediacorp Suria will be represented by renowned television personalities Rafaat Hamzah, Fauzie Laily, Syed Azmir (captain), Shahril Wahid, Effandy Idris and the Anugerah Skrin 2010 alumnus like Shahril Kahar, Aidil Jufri, Mohd Idris Jamin, Raja Razie and Muhd Dzar. We also welcome into our team the likes of actors-hosts Fadhlur Rahman and Taufiq Salleh, who represented the Dramatis team in last year’s tournament, as well as Khairul Ruzaini (the son of actor Jasmani Basri), and Razif Ariff, who are both part-time actors themselves. In short, this tournament is sprinkling with stars all in the name of charity.

The fixture list…

All qualifying matches will be played at the Singapore Polytechnic stadium on three consecutive Sundays, beginning 9th October 2011. The first match will kick off at 3pm with Berita Harian facing off with the Dramatis team. Mediacorp Suria will play against PERKAMUS at 5pm. The 3rd and 4th placing match as well as the Grand Finals will be held on 20th November 2011 at the Woodlands Stadium. Admission to all the matches is free. So if you do not have anything to do for the next three Sundays, do come down and support your local personalities and also help to do your part for charity. See you there!!!

May the best team wins!!!

From left: Jeff Catz (PERKAMUS), Syed Azmir (Mediacorp Suria), Art Fazil (PERKAMUS), Jasmi Ahmad (Dramatis) and Farid Hamzah (Berita Harian)…

How to get there… (Click on the map to enlarge it)