Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 036

Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali welcoming us to the show…

Back again for the fourth instalment of my Anugerah Skrin 2016 entry series. I guess for this week, I will not be blogging too much in this entry as a lot of things have been said so far and I don’t think I need to blabber on unless I feel there is a need to. Continuing from where we left off last week, it was Group B‘s onus to show what they have learned from their Group A counterparts and to apply whatever knowledge and tips they had gained from watching the third episode. Expectations on the contestants were high as a result of how much they would have gained from their mentors, by watching their counterparts and having an extra week to refine their respective performances.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 464

Sharon Ismail was busy entertaining wobby Dyn Norahim when I snapped this photo of the judges during the commercial break…

As with last week’s episode, the show was aired live from Studio 4 and unlike last week, the number of audience was slightly reduced to fit in the small constraints of the studio. Where Group A did their outdoor hosting segment at the Kampung Glam area, this past week, Group B were taken to Chinatown to share interesting trivia on some of the landmarks found in the area, another week of empowering our general knowledge. For the fourth week in a row, the guest judge was a lady and she was none other than award-winning writer, actress, comedian and theatre practitioner Haryani Othman.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 389

Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani…

Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani opened the night’s competition as the two performed to a credible standard befitting of what the judges had wanted to see. I like the fact how Ain is comfortable with whatever role that is given to her. Given time, she will be able to carry them off with ease. If there are reference points she can take in and learn from from some of our local actresses who are quite prolific in a plethora of roles, she can look no further than to Episode One‘s guest judge, Masturah Ahmad, and Farhana M. Noor, who was coincidentally seated amongst the audience along with her beau, Shannon Berkett. Ain is also at ease as a host, a pleasant face to look at and calm with her delivery. With the night’s showing, Ain automatically placed herself as the standard bearer for all the other young ladies to emulate or do one better.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 309

As for her sparring partner Fadli, he has the looks and height that are pre-requisites of leading men the industry always looks out for. Not much flaws I could detect from his hosting segment, however he also has to back it up with a more natural delivery in terms of intonation and stressing of words. As a pair both in the hosting and acting segments, Ain and Fadli looked to have a very good chemistry going between them, even if judge Sharon Ismail did caution the latter not to stereotype his role too much, because not all “Mat Reps” speak in that lingo. Judge Khairudin also advised both of them to listen to the other and react accordingly during their hosting segment. It might look trivial to the general viewer, who might feel that it is not much of an issue and were not able to detect during their performance at a glance, but this is one technical aspect that they can learn to be better hosts on television.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 813

Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid…

Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid were next, hosting just opposite Pagoda Street where the iconic and 189-year old Sri Mariamman Temple resides. From observing their hosting segment, I note a much better and mature performance by Yaya as compared to the group’s first week. Her delivery came off natural, something which was not evident the last time out. Iskandar was also good with his delivery but like what Sharon had pointed out afterwards, he was swaying a bit too much and his slouching posture did not make for good viewing. As a pair though, I like their chemistry and Iskandar it has to be said, was a much better team player this time as compared to Episode 2. He did almost steal the limelight again with his wisecrack about the temple’s years of existence and Yaya’s age, but that banter came off nicely this time. I personally feel that bantering between the contestants has been sorely lacking during their hosting segments, the ability to poke fun at the other without being too demeaning over the other or those that come off naturally without looking as though they were rehearsed over and over again.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 717

On to their acting segment. Both were taken to task by guest judge Haryani Othman for failing to make necessary research on their respective roles, which ultimately did not come across as believable. While I more or less agree with Haryani‘s advice on a general basis, I think to give benefit of doubt to the contestants, when it comes to styling and what they wear for the night, I believe they only know what they will be wearing on the day itself. Yes perhaps they could have done some research beforehand with regards to their respective characters, but we have to remember, most of the contestants are still raw when it comes to looking and acting their parts. They still have not yet mastered the technique of improvising with the tools that they have or gotten there and then. It is a tough wake-up call but I believe they would be mindful and start to be more of thinking actors from now on. Overall, I found their acting generally ok and comfortable, enough at least for them to remain for another week.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1200

Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy

Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy were up next and their hosting segment brought them to South Bridge Road, just opposite the Jamae Mosque. In my Episode 2 entry, I noted that Farid needed to open his mouth a bit more, add a bit of zest to his voice and not come across as deadpan. Though he did try, but I felt it wasn’t enough and the seeds of doubt on his progression to the next round was sown, moreso when it looked as though he was trying to recall his lines or saying his lines word-for-word as though his target audience were children. This resulted in a less-than-natural delivery and was rightfully pointed out by Sharon Ismail. Suharti knows her strength lies with that pleasant tone of a voice of hers. But there was a distinct lack of chemistry between her and Farid, because there was little interaction between them. Sharon pointed out that Suharti looked less than comfortable with her fluency in the language no thanks to her slang, but I personally feel it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be after watching it again on Toggle.sg and rewinding at least five times just to observe on their flaws.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1100

Where I slightly disagree with Sharon‘s observations in the previous paragraph, I agree with what she said when she pointed out that Farid and Suharti‘s acting were actually much better than their hosting segment, in terms of chemistry between them, but it also did not mean that their whole performance was good. As a team they were endearing and actually looked quite a cute couple together, but when we separate their performance from the other, that is where I noticed the glaring flaws. Rule number one is to never forget your lines and if you do, improvise and ad-lib as best as possible, though when it comes to tripping of words, it does affect the rest of their performance somewhat. Both were guilty of it, especially Farid during the beginning of his act, whereas it looked like Suharti managed to cover up a bit when her character mentioned how long they have been married together. Farid did not put enough emotions into his voice intonations, sounding as though there was no life in his dialogue. It was easy to predict that he would be favourites to leave the competition that night.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1480

Syaiful Ariffin and Wirda Elliesa

Finally down to the final two, Wirda Elliesa and Syaiful Ariffin. I think if I were to make a comparison with their hosting segment along with the rest in Group B, they were probably almost on par with the featured pairing before them. Syaiful‘s strength is in acting and he can also definitely carry a mean tune when he sings. But hosting I feel is something that is not quite him feeling at home just yet. I find his delivery a bit bland and at times, he looked like he was slouching as well. Wirda on the other hand, needs to maintain the same level of energy right till the cameras stop rolling because it showed evidently the imbalance of it throughout her performance. I am not sure about how others perceive her performance. From what I observed, she looked a bit listless and less focused with too much hand movements. There was a moment when she tried to adjust her hair but decided not to halfway. There was also little chemistry between them, and at one point, their shoulders banged into the other, not aware of what’s going on around them and this was pointed out by Khairudin.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1340

With regards to their acting, Haryani chided them for not having enough imagination. Again, to give benefit of doubt, I believe the contestants would only have been exposed to their props on the day itself and would have only a few hours to improvise and make do with what they have. In terms of realism, I think the start when Wirda‘s character came into the scene before asking Syaiful‘s character which bus goes to Bedok, she could have at least gone over to the bus stop sign and see the service numbers that passed through the stop, just to create a ruse for her character to open a conversation with him. Overall, I think theirs was a performance that was quite disappointing because it felt as though one was waiting for the other to act and react. Even then, the reaction time felt a bit slow. For someone who is an undergraduate in Theatre Arts and a theatre practitioner, I expected more from Syaiful and I feared that both could be eliminated by the end of their performance. It was either them, the contestants before them or one each from either pairings.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1641

Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy clearly dejected after learning their fates…

As it turned out, it was the pairing of Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy who were eliminated at the end of the show. Personally I thought it was going to be Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa. I believe the latter also felt that way because she was already looking down and trying to fight back tears before the cameras started rolling for the final reckoning. It is tough for the judges to decide and I’m sure they would have deliberated over their decision. Wirda should take this reprieve and come out stronger in a week’s time because if someone like Yaya could improve between the second and fourth episodes, I believe she can too. It is going to be even tougher with another two from each group slated for elimination over the next two weeks of competition. Again I would like to tell the contestants to please look up to the cameras and smile more. When you have progressed to the next round and shedding tears or looking glum, you do not give the impression that you are pleased to have made it for another week. Show a bit of joy please and leave the crying backstage when the end credits have rolled.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1716

The Top 6 from Group B

I did say in the last entry, no one has actually stood out yet. After Episode 4, I believe Ain Zainal has staked enough claims to be at least in the semi-final rounds. I would like to say she is good enough for the Grand Finals but anything can happen between now and then, and I do not wish to jinx her in that respect. She just needs to maintain her level of consistency, grow as the weeks progress and everything will hopefully work in her favour. Anyway it was nice to see Haryani Othman playing the role of bad cop, brutally honest with her views and a fresh perspective at least for me, even if I disagree to some extent with some of her comments. It is a nice wake-up call for the contestants to constantly do their homework, research on their roles, be more of thinking actors rather than rely on every script given to them and taking them at face value. I expect the judging and assessments to be even stricter now that we’re into a month of the competition.

P.S. I will include snapshots of Episode 4 on a later date as I have other commitments to tend to and have no time to edit almost two thousand shots I snapped that night. So do come back soon to view them…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 Recap…

anugerahskrin2016promoposter

(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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 001

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 243

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 045

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 346

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 182

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 651

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 253

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 858

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 416

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 095

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 755

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 207

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 1061

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

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode One Recap

anugerahskrin2016promoposter(Promotional graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Anugerah Skrin, the reality television competition in search of the new faces to grace Mediacorp Suria channel in acting and hosting, has begun in earnest last Tuesday (26 January 2016). It seemed like yesterday that we had just witnessed the coronation of Erwin Shah Dawson and Syirah Jusni and here we are once again. Now into its third edition, this season’s competition promises to be better and more competitive. Judging by the first episode which I was fortunate to catch live from the Mediacorp TV Theatre, there is potential that it might upstage the 2010 cohort. This year, the show is hosted by the first Anugerah Skrin champion, Huda Ali, along with her 2006 alumnus, Shah Iskandar. Khairudin Samsudin once again returns as one of the resident judges and joining him as a weekly regular will be three-time Pesta Perdana Best Actress winner, Sharon Ismail.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 011

After a gruelling two-month search, sifting through hundreds of applicants and a few rounds of auditions, the Top 20 (which has since dwindled down to 18 from the first episode) consisting of ten male and female contestants will battle it out for ten weeks before a new set of winners will be crowned. The contestants have been split into two groups, five male and five female contestants in each group. From the first right up till the sixth episode, each group will alternate every week, with every week seeing one female and one male contestant being eliminated. The seventh episode, which will signal the semi-final round, will see both groups combining for the first time.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 003

Hosts of Anugerah SkrinHuda Ali and Shah Iskandar

To kick off the first episode, it was a special 90-minute show with the first half hour dedicated to showing the goings-on of the audition rounds held at SCAPE @ Orchard as well as at Caldecott Broadcast Centre. They also featured snippets of how some of the contestants were selected via special express passes at selected places in Singapore along with several Skrin alumni members like Nurul Akhmar, Syirah Jusni, Junaidi Sali and Imam Shah tasked to look out for potential candidates. The subsequent hour had Group A duking it out for a place in the next round and they consisted of Aidi Isham, Zaidi Zailee, Danish Ashraf, Kamarul Arifin, Yamin Yusof, Nabihah Zainodin, Nurul Nadia, Syafiqah Shahlan, Amalina Roslee and Shida Lestaluhu.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 460

Jury panel for Week OneSharon Ismail, Khairudin Samsudin and Mastura Ahmad

Mastura Ahmad, a name that does not need any further introduction, joined the judging panel as the first guest judge of the competition and this year, the Group A contestants will be mentored in the basic technical aspects of acting and hosting by Muhammad Najib Soiman, a very well-respected figure in the local theatre circle, and Rilla Melati, whose wealth of experience in the local entertainment industry will be very useful indeed in mentoring the contestants. Rilla, along with Huda Ali, are the mainstays of this competition since it began in 2006. The debut competition saw Rilla as host, the second one in 2010 as a resident judge and now her status has elevated her as a mentor. Huda as we know by now, was a contestant and eventual winner of the first edition, and hosted the second edition along with Suzairhe Sumari, with Shahril Wahid, the other winner in 2006, taking the role of roving host.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 910

Group A mentors – Muhammad Najib Soiman and Rilla Melati

Unlike the 2010 edition where I assessed every single individual performance right from the off, I will be changing tack a little this time around. It is only the first week of competition and I felt that I needed to warm up and view the contestants before assessing their respective performances henceforth. Time is also sadly not on my side this time as I am forever busy with my own personal commitments so perhaps for this and the next entry, I might keep things short or just summarise things as I see it. Anyway, I do not want to pressure the contestants unnecessarily like the last edition, even though I was probably the only local Malay entertainment blogger around.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 762

Group B contestants observing keenly the performances of their Group A counterparts…

As years pass and as I mature along with my thoughts, I want to take up the role of a big brother dispensing advice rather than criticising every single mistake or flaw that I see. I remember starting out as a very blunt reviewer, I did not mince my words and in turn I rubbed others the wrong way. I found out certain contestants felt afraid and pressured by some of my reviews even though I felt it was needed because the local media itself is always too kind towards its own talents, unlike those you see across our shores. I started to change my style during the Ratu competition back in late 2012, amidst loads of negative feedback from the masses on social media towards the contestants.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 636

Zaidi Zailee and Amalina Roslee

Of course I will not sugar coat my words, but a certain amount of compassion and benefit of doubt will be part of my weekly assessments. There are enough unqualified critics already out there on various social media platforms craving for attention and possible infamy, and though I have no formal background in acting and hosting, my 12-year experience in blogging about our local Malay entertainment scene I believe, puts me in good stead. What matters right now for all the contestants of Anugerah Skrin are the comments made by the judges and whatever tips they can gain from their respective mentors as well as milk the experiences of the hosts whom they will meet on a weekly basis. Never be too shy to ask around and do their respective homework.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 430

Nabihah Zainodin and Aidi Isham

For the record, the first episode saw the elimination of Aidi Isham and Amalina Roslee. As I was watching the show live and looking at their performances, I couldn’t help but feel that this current competition will be very competitive, with only minor details separating the ones advancing to the next round and those being eliminated. I for one feel that eliminating them in their very first episode is a bit harsh as it meant we only saw their talents within the space of just five minutes (two minutes of hosting and three minutes of acting). But this is the name of the game. I can only hope there will be a Wildcard Round where those eliminated but showed certain qualities to deserve a second chance, be invited again to show their mettle proper. There are ten weeks afterall and surprises might happen along the way. Reality competitions are never rigid in format anyway.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 364

Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin

As for those who impressed me to a certain degree that night, I noted the potential of Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin, not on television just yet, but more to radio. I totally enjoyed their hosting segment and as I closed my eyes and listened to them, I felt radio could have a new batch of presenters there waiting to be groomed. They have the crisp and pleasant tones one would associate with the voices of radio presenters out there. Another one that just went out and enjoyed themselves were Danish Ashraf and Syafiqah Shahlan. Based on the judges’ comments, I believe these two impressed them the most that night, with one being told that they did not need the competition to assert themselves into the local entertainment scene and the other having a lot of potential waiting to be released. Their energy and chemistry were the best that night for both hosting and acting, and it will be interesting to see how they fare when they switch pairings in Week Three.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 545

Danish Ashraf and Syafiqah Shahlan

I believe when the judges said one did not need the competition to assert themselves into the local entertainment scene, it was directed towards the direction of Danish Ashraf. From the start when they interviewed him during the aftermath of announcing the Top 20 who made it to the main television rounds, one could see that he is someone with a lot of self-confidence. It also helps that he has an added advantage after being involved in another recent reality television series in search of the new generation of comedians in Singapore, Kolej Komedi. Whatever experiences he gained during his stint then is being put to good use in this competition. He needs to be mindful not to come across as cocky though as some people might misinterpret his body language as such.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 504

Yamin Yusof and Nurul Nadia

My only hope is that Danish will challenge himself in more serious roles than the ones he is comfortable with and those that suit his bubbly personality. Because right now I see another Junaidi Sali in him, someone who is equally at ease playing comedic as well as antagonistic roles. Oh and he needs to stop talking about his lack of height cos he was not only talking about it during his interview but also during the short introduction leading up to his acting segment. A bit of it is nice for starters. Repeating it again and again makes him sound like a broken record and might turn others off because this is not meant to get him sympathetic votes. Where he lacks in physical stature, he can more than make it up with his big bag of potential. He just needs to remain consistently good and more.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 852

Aidi Isham and Amalina Roslee could still afford to smile upon knowing their elimination…

As for the eliminated contestants, like all reality competitions, this is never the end of the road. We’ve seen many reality contestants in this region as well as around the world, get eliminated early but gone on to create a name for themselves. It’s all about passion and hard work. No shortcuts and no two ways about it. I understand Aidi Isham has already appeared as a bit-part actor in several local productions and appeared in both Channel 5 and Suria. He can definitely build on from there, improve and perhaps get meatier roles in future. As for Amalina Roslee, she still has a lot of rough edges which need polishing, especially when delivering her lines and emotions. She might want to consider enrolling herself in acting classes to improve if she still has dreams of being in the scene.

Anugerah Skrin Suria 2016 Episode 1 2016-01-26 907

The ones who live to fight another day…

I would like to speak more on the other contestants I have not mentioned, but I guess I will leave it as it is and wait till the third episode to see more of them. Till then, here’s wishing Group B consisting of Yaya Hamid, Yasmin Arissa, Wirda Elliesa, Ain Zainal, Suharti Amy, Iskandar Shah, Syaiful Ariffin, Muhd Mursyid, Farid Azhar and Fadli Kamsani all the best for tonight’s upcoming episode. They were keen observers during the first episode sitting at the front row and would have picked up several useful tips. Their task will be to up the ante and quality of the performances already seen so far in this new season’s competition. Not that they need any further reminders from me… 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode One

LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition Promo

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

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

LalooLalang Bazaar 2015-07-04 118

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

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

LalooLalang Bazaar 2015-07-04 206
Dyn Norahim, Sufie Rashid, Sheiryn Aisiqa and Nity Baizura joined by staff from Mediacorp Suria and Manja Magazine in promoting the Hari Raya edition of the local Malay entertainment magazine, where local celebrities shared their cooking and baking recipes for the Hari Raya festivities…

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

LalooLalang Bazaar 2015-07-04 213

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

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

Pesta Perdana 13 Snapshots

PP13

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… 🙂

LakiBini 2.0 Review

10411018_783087115085396_7800618507912158837_n(Graphics poster courtesy of KreatiV OutBox)

I seldom watch theatre plays. I think if I can measure the rate I watch theatre shows, I can safely say that it is perhaps a once-a-year thingy for me. In fact I did not have any plans whatsoever to post a review on this show that I attended on 3rd October 2014 at the Black Box Studio of Goodman Arts Centre. Longtime readers of this blog would note how uncomfortable I am at doing reviews of this nature and that I am perhaps the worst at reviewing theatre plays for the fact that I do not have any acting or theatre background to begin with. At least when I review music performances, shows or concerts, I have an inkling of what I am typing about as I have some experience being a keen observer, stagehand, volunteer and even a performer at some point in my life. This entry is published since I was kindly approached by the director and playwright himself, Izad Omar, to do one as there was not much post-show publicity nor reviews other than the one that was published on Berita Harian a fortnight ago.

10422952_396479990504015_1354813141541631631_n

I heard about this show, produced by local theatre company KreatiV OutBox, back in April 2014 when I was covering the TeRaSeh 2.0 competition, during the week that Den Sabari, one of the show’s main casts, and his wife Huda Ali were the studio guests at Warna 94.2FM during the post-show interview with the “Malam 2 Mat” hosts, Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. Since I count Den as one of my good friends, I made the effort to block the dates of the play six months in advance so I could catch it when the time comes. Den admitted during the months leading up to the show, how excited, yet nervous he was at the thought of making his theatre comeback after more than five years away from the live stage. A lot of effort, practices and rehearsals were done just to get things right and there were times Den had to sacrifice his social time to play football with our Seniman FC team just for this play.

10403359_396269487191732_452979450131023081_n

For a first-timer on a live stage, I thought Ainon Talib did extremely well juggling the different emotions that her character had to exude and display. One moment she was laughing and cracking jokes, the next she was angry and subsequently shedding tears. I have so much respect for performers who could switch emotions with a snap of the fingers and Ainon‘s character, Ira, demanded her to do just that. I strongly believe this experience would empower her and improve on her acting on television, though of course there is always room for improvement on stage. Den Sabari, who played Zali on the other hand, had a bit of nervousness in him, but I kind of attributed it to pressure knowing a few of his close friends were seated in the audience. And of course, there is that issue of rustiness of not performing a stage play in years, but personally I felt it wasn’t that glaring to the common folk like myself. Maybe theatre experts who caught the play could relate better.

10623997_398005033684844_8147503605755101524_o

However, the star of the show to me had to be Fariz Najed who played the effeminate BFF to Ainon‘s character. I felt his role, even though it was a supporting one, was the most crucial and important, in that he helped to link and added balance to the two main casts, the glue that held everything together. He was so likeable as the angsty best friend who not only found himself ostracised by his own family but also always at odds with the character played by Den Sabari himself. In a way, his role demanded the audience to understand from his perspective. His role and problems faced are common amongst men who are considered soft or effeminate, as they are often looked down by the community and seek acceptance for who they are. Fariz aced his role and gave us plenty of food for thought with his acting delivery.

10631201_398004577018223_6251830802433498152_o

As a normal-paying audience, not too concerned with technicalities of theatre play, I was there to be entertained. What I got from that 90-minutes show was not just mere entertainment, I left the Black Box Studio with a gamut of emotions from what I had witnessed throughout the play. The show highlighted common problems faced by many married couples, the real dilemmas faced as a young couple right down to their ageing years. What I like most about the play was, it was done in a light-hearted manner, without being too deep with the issues being discussed and some of the issues raised strike a chord with what we sometimes face in the course of our marriage. There were also several digs being made towards social / cultural practices which might contradict our Islamic beliefs without being too direct nor overly critical. For theatre novices like myself, this was an enjoyable play and I certainly did not feel the time passing by. The downside and only complaint I might have is how cold the venue was, even after two of the air-con units had been turned off, from what I understand from Izad himself. Other than that it was a very good production by KreatiV OutBox. Kudos!!!

10631061_398003490351665_938343966988219874_o

(All photographs courtesy of KreatiV OutBox)

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Review

apm2014poster(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division)

It’s been three weeks since Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 (APM2014) was held at Suntec City Convention Centre on 17 October 2014, but the memories of the prestigious awards night are still fresh in my mind. I cannot guarantee if I will blog as lengthily as what everyone has been used to reading when it comes to my annual APM reviews, simply because on the surface, I doubt I have much to dissect and analyse this time round. But you’ll never know, since I have this tendency to blabber, make sidenotes and references that would eventually veer me off-course. But that’s the beauty of this blog, other than the many photographs that everyone loves to come in and see. I just wish I can make this a full-time career, but is there a proper industry here in Singapore to begin with??? 🙂

APM2014 2014-10-17 459

The right choice for the opening performance, Taufik Batisah with his current hit “#Awakkatmane“…

In years past, I would normally take the trouble and effort to read the reactions of the general audience and see their comments on social media. Not this year, as I did not wish to concern myself with the “Macam Faham” keyboard warriors. These people will always be there on social media, ever ready whenever there is an event on television, quick to comment on things that are trivial and out of their understanding, but still feel the need and urge to comment when they know nuts what is going on behind-the-scenes or understanding reasons behind certain shortcomings. But I believe this year’s event had few controversial incidents (more on that!!!) or arguable award recipients as in previous years. Congratulations to the organisers as APM2014 was the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide that night!!!

APM2014 2014-10-17 521

Yacko, Joe Flizzow and Sheikh Haikel continued where Taufik left off…

I had extremely good vibes about APM2014 days before the event, for the sole reason, this was (and if my memory still serves me well), the first in its thirteen editions, that it witnessed a sell-out crowd. Between 2001-2005 I remembered APM being close to a full house, but there were still empty pockets here and there. I attributed the presence of legendary Malaysian rock group WINGS and seeing Ariel of NOAH after his well-documented legal struggles, as the two main factors that pulled in the audience this year. In the past, we might have had household names like Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza and Taufik Batisah to help entice the crowd to attend, but still their presence were not enough, even if they continue to receive the biggest cheers every time they appear on stage. This time, I’m sure it felt like a major coup to have two of the biggest bands in the regional Nusantara music scene to grace the APM stage. This was the first time WINGS made an appearance at the awards show and the first time Ariel appeared since Peterpan performed at APM2005.

APM2014 2014-10-17 789

Hosts for the night – Dyn Norahim, Sarah Sechan and Nabil Ahmad

But the sell-out audience was also a major factor in me stopping short of saying this was the best APM in years. Yes the event itself, in terms of performances and overall production, is probably up there amongst the best and most enjoyable ones in its thirteen years of existence, but the atmosphere was close to dead from my humble observations. Other than Taufik Batisah‘s opening performance or whenever he appeared onstage either to receive his three awards or presented with Najwa Mahiaddin, the only times the crowd came alive were when Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, NOAH and WINGS made appearances. The atmosphere during the rest of the other performances or award presentations felt like a morgue, or at the very least, just courtesy applause heard. At times, one could just hear a pin drop. That was how bad the atmosphere was and I had to turn around a couple of times to see whether it was really a sell-out audience or not.

APM2014 2014-10-17 1255

A common feature of APM – Performances by artistes from the three countries together onstage – Maria Calista, Mafarikha Akhir and Aisyah Aziz

I expected a bit more vigour and pride from the audience, when our local artistes who were nominated in the regional categories, had their names announced as the nominees. Or when the likes of Aisyah Aziz, Sufie Rashid, Sezairi and Sheikh Haikel performed. But it was just dead, with little to no positive reaction, save perhaps when Sufie Rashid won his award for Lagu Terbaik Singapura (Best Singapore Song). I wondered aloud that night, aren’t we proud to see our own acts stand toe to toe with the region’s best??? I was seething throughout the night at the thought and somehow when I’m typing this and recalling again, I feel that sense of anger returning. Last year, we had a party atmosphere with fans bringing drums and percussions, even when it was not a full house. It was just a big pity the same fans were not around to hype the audience. Or perhaps told not to bring their instruments into the event venue. But even if they were not allowed to, I’m sure they would still be in full voice.

APM2014 2014-10-17 1558

The cool cat, Sezairi, performed his nominated single “Sayang“…

This year, there was a change in hosts from Singapore and Malaysia. Dyn Norahim (and not Ibrahim. Astro & MeleTOP please take note!!!) from Warna 94.2FM and Ahmad Nabil Ahmad, the winner of the second season of Malaysia‘s Raja Lawak reality competition took over the microphone duties alongside APM veteran Sarah Sechan. Indeed this was Dyn Norahim‘s first big break hosting an event of this magnitude, where the region’s eyes were on him. He admitted to having a lot of jitters before the show, in awe of his two colleagues whom he felt were more prolific in their crafts as hosts and extremely quick on the draw to butt in when he fluffed his lines during rehearsals. But I told him not to be overawed by the occasion and he would do just fine. Most importantly, I reminded him not to go overboard with some of his jokes, and overall I think he did extremely well without trying too hard.

APM2014 2014-10-17 1600

Sultry Najwa Mahiaddin serenaded the audience with “Impian Terindah“…

While I’ve heard of many negative feedbacks about Dyn Norahim‘s performance that night, mostly from the online brickbats, I thought he did not do much wrong for a newbie on the APM stage. Local radio listeners would have been disappointed not to have witnessed Dyn‘s alter-egos Abang J and Mr. Wong, or that he might not have matched Nabil‘s wacky personality, but there needed to be a certain balance with all three hosts complementing one another, rather than hogging or competing for the limelight. Dyn is outgoing and comical in his own way and did not need to match Nabil pound for pound in the wacky stakes. Nabil‘s butting in at several award presentations and chiming in with wisecracks when others were presenting, were either welcomed or a source of irritation, depending on how you tolerate his style. Just that I was a bit uncomfortable when he made a joke about plane crashes in this very same year his own country suffered two tragedies of that nature. I was expecting some backlash from his countrymen about it, but thankfully I’ve heard none of it till today.

APM2014 2014-10-17 1728

Loved Tulus‘ humble speech when he won his award for Artis Baru Terbaik (Lelaki) / Best New Male Artiste

Speaking of backlash and the earlier mention of controversies that arose from this year’s edition, poor Dzar Ismail was targeted by the Indonesians on Twitter for unwittingly using the term “Indon” to refer to the “Indonesians” when he presented with Hanis Zalikha. For those who do not know, the term “Indon” is derogatory to the Indonesians. It is either a racial slur or a negative connotation to describe them. But I know Dzar Ismail did not mean it the way the Indonesians had slagged him off for it. For one, the term is used here in Singapore as a shortened name for Indonesia / Indonesians. Most, if not all of us, even Malaysians, use it as a shortened word of convenience, and not to degrade or look down at our neighbours. Even the Indonesians living here in Singapore refer to themselves as “Indon“, so I was a bit surprised at the amount of abuse being directed towards Dzar Ismail. Our own Berita Harian congratulated their new President by using the same term as their front page headlines recently. So really, it’s a matter of cultural misunderstanding. It would be nice however, to take note, not to use it during such events where we are interacting with Indonesian audience, out of basic respect and courtesy. It’s like the N-word where it is ok for the Negros and blacks to use it amongst themselves, but not us.

APM2014 2014-10-17 2108

Dato’ Rossa and Taufik Batisah‘s onstage chemistry was intense and passionate to say the least…

I don’t think there are any major grievances pertaining to all the award winners. Previously, our regional neighbours were up in arms when any Singaporean artistes were to walk away with the popular regional award categories, but the winners this year (“Dia Dia Dia” – Fatin Shidqia Lubis and NOAH) somehow could have been justified in their eyes. I might not hear or perhaps been oblivious if there are any objections towards Taufik Batisah winning the Ikon Media Sosial (Social Media Icon) award. This is a guy who has timed his return to perfection and launched his latest album at the right moment, a month before APM2014. With his viral videos with the hashtag “#awakkatmane” making its rounds since Ramadhan and resulting in countless number of parodies being made, it was a no brainer. Rightly so that such an award conferred to him reflected his influence. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Taufik on getting more than a million views on YouTube for his latest music video “#Awakkatmane” within three weeks of uploading it, and also for the hashtag to be the top trending topic on YouTube Malaysia.

APM2014 2014-10-17 2463

One of the top draws of the night, Ariel and NOAH

Such popularity comes with the caveat of having haters as well. You either like the “#Awakkatmane” song, or you do not. Personally I love it, in fact I need to listen to it daily as a form of perk-me-up. However, linguistic “Nazis” like myself however have a little grouse with regards to its title, where “mana” is spelt as “mane“. Releasing it in the middle of our national Malay Language Month, where speaking good Malay is encouraged, also felt a little odd but I know for one that Taufik meant no disrespect whatsoever. By adding that hashtag at the beginning of the title meant, he probably was taking a dig at those who love to misspell or spell out of convenience in social media or online messaging. Nonetheless, I am so hoping and wishing that with this new album launch, his viral clips and music video as well as his collaboration with the likes of Altimet in his new album and two of his songs being chosen as the soundtracks for drama series shown in Malaysia, it will finally be the big break that has eluded him all these years. Ten years in the scene, it is high time he becomes a household name across our shores. Sidenote, the voice of the lady in that hit song does not belong to Fiza O. Wonder how some people came to such a conclusion when the voice tones of both ladies are different.

APM2014 2014-10-17 2733

Odd to see Judika attending APM without his wife Duma Riris, but congratulations to them on the birth of their firstborn, Cleo Deora Boru Sihotang

I was and still am elated over the awards won by Awi Rafael for his collaboration with Altimet for “Kalau Aku Kaya” (Kolaborasi TerbaikArtis / Best Artiste Collaboration), as well as those won by Aisyah Aziz for “Mimpi” (Kolaborasi TerbaikLagu / Best Song Collaboration) and Sufie Rashid for “Tiada Pengganti” (Lagu Terbaik SingapuraBest Singapore Song). I did say last year that I would not at all be surprised if “Kalau Aku Kaya” were to be nominated in at least the Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group) or Kolaborasi Terbaik (Best Collaboration) categories. I stopped short of saying the song or collaboration would win outright last year, for the fact that I had yet to listen to newer songs from other artistes, but if I had the choice to award them for it, I would have given it to them last year. However, my hunch came true this time and I thought it was a satisfying reward earned by two artistes whom I have so much respect for in the regional music scene.

APM2014 2014-10-17 2820

One of my favourite photos of the night – Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza belting “Jaga Dia Untukku“…

If there is an award for “Most Improved Performer” over the past year, I would give it to Sufie Rashid in a heartbeat. He has grown so much since his first forays in the scene, joining the various reality talent competitions on television, only to falter in the earlier stages. He was one of the guest performers during last year’s APM2013 Media Conference, along with Yaya Hamid, but he did not impress me at all that day. He was a bag of nerves and had pitching issues when he sang. In short, I was cringing when I watched him. I remembered Aura Shai asking me to upload a full video of his performance that day but I chose not to, cos I did not want viewers to slate him or subject him to abuse from online brickbats. But I know and can see that he has taken great pains to improve himself over the past year. Most importantly, he has gained so much confidence onstage thanks to his involvement in the recent SG Mania competition on Mediacorp Suria.

APM2014 2014-10-17 2895

Judika and Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza teased a possible collaboration when they presented at last year’s APM and called themselves “Ju-Si“. This year it became a reality when they sang “Apakah Ini Cinta“…

SG Mania, I felt, was the making of Sufie Rashid. Where once he had confidence issues, he is now a fearless performer onstage. His performance during APM2014 made my hairs stood and I was happy for him that he was not overawed when paired with the likes of Hazama and Cakra Khan. He told me afterwards how he was worried that he might have upstaged the other two when he went for the high notes. I for one, was afraid his voice would crack as a result, but he pulled it off much to the audience’s approval, judging by their whoops and cheers. Credits also go out to members of The SallysShafiq Iskandar, Izwan Khuzair and Rusdi Badri for composing “Tiada Pengganti“. This is an under-rated local band that has produced quite a number of radio-friendly hits. But my personal favourite from their collection of songs till this day is still “Gadis Marmalade“. Like my blog, the band recently celebrated their tenth year of existence this year.

APM2014 2014-10-17 3254

The fearless performer, Sufie Rashid

I enjoyed all the performances that night from the start right till the end. In fact, I did not feel the time passing by till the voiceover announcement informed that Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Dato’ Rossa and Aisyah Aziz were up next, indicating the second last performance of the night (I had the benefit of knowing who was performing in order of performances and songs thanks to the media press kit given to us). Slowly but surely, the organising team have begun to master the art of keeping things compact within a two-and-a-half hour timeframe. The commercial breaks were short, between three to four minutes, and most people who went to relieve themselves or went out for a quick smoke break ended up returning to their seats during the following commercial breaks or rushing back when the live cameras were rolling. Where previously the event felt like a drag, I have seen a lot of improvement in this area over the past two to three years.

APM2014 2014-10-17 3519

Cakra Khan, Sufie Rashid and Hazama paying tribute to Sweet Charity with “Kamelia”…

I have been waxing lyrical all along other than making my unhappiness felt towards the audience for not being supportive enough. But of course I have other few niggly issues which I feel the need to voice out and hopefully improve future APM events. I already stated in my “Walk of the Stars” entry that not many artistes walked onstage to be introduced to the audience and how it would be nice for the audience to see our very own local acts be introduced to them. I also overheard and observed how the local artistes had to enter through the same doors and walked along the same route as the other audience. Though it would be nice to see them enter the event venue through another route as a mark of exclusivity accorded to artistes, I believe logistical issues were probably why they had to enter through the same way as the general audience or the fact that they were not mobbed could have been another factor why they entered the same way as the rest.

APM2014 2014-10-17 3615

Another one of my favourite shots of the night, this time with Dato’ Rossa

Logistical issue was also another factor why there was no post-event reception after APM ended last year. I was pleased that at least there was one this time round. Where some might complain about having to make do with light / finger food not befitting of such a prestigious event, I personally feel that beggars cannot be choosers. It was gracious and kind enough for the organisers to provide a place where artistes could do a bit of networking with industry players and fill their stomachs a bit before going for supper with friends elsewhere. Cos I’m sure a lot of artistes when they meet friends and such, they would want to adjourn to another place to continue their conversations. Fathin Amira Zubir was the busiest from my observations of the goings-on during the post-event reception, handing over her single CDSebenarnya” to various artistes and people from the music industry. I should have asked one from her, never mind if I had to pay for it, cos I always do my bit to purchase products from our local acts, rather than expect freebies or complimentary copies.

APM2014 2014-10-17 3699

APM promotes friendship and warmth between artistes from the three countries. This photograph is one fine example.

Before the event and after looking at its graphics poster, I noted on my Facebook status that there was a bit of lopsidedness in terms of female performers and bands if one were to compare those in Singapore to our regional counterparts. Malaysia and Indonesia each had a band representative and more than one female performer than us who only had Aisyah Aziz to be proud of. I had called upon the organisers to balance the odds and add an additional female performer and band, cos seriously after watching Konsert Siti Nurhaliza Live back in March as well as SG Mania and Singa Maksima Live prior to APM2014, I felt the likes of Fathin Amira Zubir, Sarah Aqilah, Farisha Ishak and Tujuhband at least deserved to represent us and performed that night. I was absolutely sure they would not disappoint us on the big stage. At the same time I was not expecting much given the nineteen awards that were presented and the already stellar-cast on show having to fit into a compact timeframe of two-and-a-half hours.

APM2014 2014-10-17 3771 Loved this tribute segment for three Divas who recently passed on, Dato’ Sharifah Aini, Diana Nasution and Kartina Dahari…

I just hope for future APMs, more of such acts would be showcased cos we do not have a dearth of talent in our local pool, but it is sometimes a question of us having confidence if they would deliver or not. Somehow I have been observing over the years that our local bands do not get much exposure on television as compared to individual artistes. Most variety or charity shows on Suria do not feature our local bands as much as we would like them to. We know they have composed and churned out radio hits, some even topping the charts for weeks, but relatively, I dare say most of them are an unknown quantity to the masses. I wonder if it is a case of budgeting (cheaper to pay a solo singer as compared to a group / band) or show producers do not have confidence on the abilities and capabilities of our local bands. When was the last time we saw the likes of Diorama, The Sallys, Tujuhband, Aryan Band, Kraton, Klutz etc. on television??? It’s either been a long time or none at all!!! I hope the next edition of SG Mania would feature bands instead of individual singers. Cos really our bands deserve a platform to showcase their talents to the masses.

APM2014 2014-10-17 4459

Oddly enough, the hosts only appeared onstage together twice throughout the whole show…

But speaking of our local bands and I hope they don’t kill me after this for saying this, I noticed a lot of them were too quick to get up from their seats that night during the commercial breaks to go for smoke breaks. I’m not a smoker and I cannot understand this addiction for nicotine, but surely some of them could have limited themselves to one break or none at all over the course of the whole event. Cos it didn’t look nice (since the event was also attended by dignitaries, people from the industry, sponsors and foreign guests sitting near the front rows where they were seated) that our local artistes were more interested in having a puff than watching the awards show. There were times during the show where they were all seen rushing back to their seats, some smelling from their cigarette smells which was and is a major turn-off.

APM2014 2014-10-17 4510

Awie still packs a punch onstage and remains one of the best performers with his showmanship…

Respect in many ways, deeds and creeds, I believe goes two ways. If you want the bigwigs to sit up, take notice of your talents and feature you in future, you need to show a bit of respect towards yourselves and the event you’re at, cos there are many other observant eyes around us besides myself. It might be trivial, but little things sometimes might be used as a cause against you. And I personally wouldn’t want that to hinder their progress or possible exposure to the masses. I can only dispense advice from a perspective of an observer who has seen and heard grouses from people from the industry. At times I become the Agony Aunt to some of our local acts and listen to some of the problems they face. But I do not have the answers to everything, but where I can help, I’ll try to. This is one aspect I noticed and feel the need to voice out for them to improve on their image and standing as talents and acts to be given due respect.

APM2014 2014-10-17 4712

WINGS closed the proceedings with an energetic medley of their current and past hits…

I finally come to my last paragraph. So much for saying at the start that I won’t make this a lengthy entry. I wanted to share more anecdotes and problems faced behind-the-scenes, but I guess I won’t because some things are best left unsaid to protect the dignity of others and the event as a whole. Some backstage politicking should remain between the relevant parties and not one for me to stick my nose into. I was there at the awards show to be entertained and to meet friends in the scene. I was sufficiently satisfied by what I saw onstage and contented with what I had off it, which made me feel that this was one of the most enjoyable APM events I had attended. I hope the next time APM is organised, Suntec City Convention Centre would continue to be the event venue. Congratulations once again to all the award winners and to the organising team from Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division for a job well done!!!

Snapshots of APM2014