Elit Suria Wildcard Episode

The stage setting pre-show…

This entry nearly did not see the light of day as I have been very occupied the whole week and was away for a short staycation with the family over the past weekend. Why I managed to do this entry at the last moment is because some things that we planned prior did not materialise, so I finally got to squeeze some time to reminisce what transpired during the recent episode of Elit Suria this past Monday 6 August 2018. This was the first episode I finally made my way down to MediaCorp Campus to watch the show live from the studio. Before the show, I was not sure how the contestants would react upon finally meeting me in person after reading my previous two entries, but thankfully all of them were so cordial, warm and friendly, thanking me for pointing out their flaws and where to improve as they do not have the benefit of others telling them how to, or probably were too shy to ask around. I was a bit embarrassed when one by one came up to say “Hi” and “Thank You” to yours truly, that I felt like a mini celebrity that night. I seldom get that from previous reality show competitions because I know some of the past contestants quietly resent and bore grudges against me for my objective assessments, or probably the times they were cordial to me was because I take nice photos of them. Usually once the competition is done, a minority of them will stop following me on social media, which makes me feel used somewhat. Oh well…

The audience which included the eight confirmed semi-finalists, seated at the front row…

The recent Wildcard Round featured all the eight eliminated contestants so far, giving them that last chance saloon to show that they deserved a second chance to still remain in the competition. How lucky it is to be in Group A then, as they had a fortnight off before worrying about the semi-finals tonight. I am sure Haziq Halim, Hans Hamid, Fatin Taha and Hana Rosli will disagree with me, because I know the prolonged days leading up to tonight, only adds on to the tension they are facing at the moment. Last Monday, the show was graced by Akademi Fantasia alumnus, Nurul Rahila Rashun, who performed as the guest artiste and the Wildcard episode’s theme of the week was Culture. Actually it should have been called International Culture since the challenges and questions posed during the episode had something to do with cultures around the world. This was another episode which for me, was an educational eye-opener, because I personally find this particular theme interesting, given my penchant to know useful trivias and stuff, a chance to empower my general knowledge. Prior to the show, the ones I had ear-marked to enter the semi-finals were Fadzli Jani for the guys and between Erna Ellieyana and Nur Mehga for the ladies.

Rahila Rashun performed the haunting hit “Asmaradana“, taken from the box-office hit movie, “Puteri Gunung Ledang“…

I’ve had my fair share of complaints about the Style Round, where the contestants are judged based on their style and confidence onstage. However, I personally like the opening performance between the contestants and Rahila for this particular episode, with all their poses and outfits depicting the different cultures they were portraying. What came as a surprise was the contestants learning to dance and though they are not prolific dancers, they managed to learn their respective choreographies within a short space of time. Not an easy feat when you’re not dancers nor have that hidden talent to begin with. To their credit, the contestants looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely and the ones who enjoyed themselves the most onstage happened to win this segment, Fadzli Jani and Atiqah Hassan coming in at second, though I have to say Fadzli somehow was a bit overexcited during his performance, making the overall balance of energy between the four pairings on stage a bit disjointed. Fadzli and Atiqah also happened to be paired together, as they danced to the style of typical traditional Indian dancers. For the other contestants, they looked more confident and poised than the previous episodes they were in, where I previously pointed out that their lack of confidence from this round alone spelt the end of their journey. But if you ask me who should have won, I would have personally chose Hisyam Salimnor as I found his moves more graceful.

The esteemed judges – Khairudin Saharom, Nuraliza Osman and Najip Ali

Next comes the Personality segment where the contestants are judged on their hosting capabilities. I find Hisyam‘s hosting a bit too cautious since the very first episode he was in, and I repeated it to him when we met post-show. He tends to mouth his words and break them up according to syllables when he does not need to most times. I guess he just wants to make sure that he pronounces them correctly. When I look at him, I cannot help but be reminded of Danish Ashraf, 2016‘s Anugerah Skrin runner-up. The way they speak, their mannerisms, their styles all look similar. For awhile, I thought they were related, but they are not when I asked Hisyam during our short conversation, but they do know each other personally. I actually like Nur Mehga‘s hosting. The only complaint I had about her previously was, she does not smile much when she knows the cameras are not panning at her. When she does smile, I can feel the whole room light up. So it was nice to see more of Mehga‘s smile during this episode and how confident she was. Which was a big disappointment when eventually she came in 5th for this round, even after judge Khairudin Saharom had praised her for being the best of the four for their hosting segment, which also included the other pair, Noh Irwan Amran and Ainur Rosyieqa. I had expected Mehga to have gotten Top 4 at least.

Hosts Fauzie Laily and Nurul Aini

Noh Irwan‘s shortcomings from the time I watched him previously, were his distinct lack of confidence and unsure of himself. If you were to watch his hosting clip again via Toggle‘s Catch-Up TV, you will understand what I mean if you notice his expressions rolling back his eyes as if to remember his lines. He needs to understand the question that he is posing to his interviewee and make it sound across as natural as possible, not as though he is reading directly from a script. The same assessments could also be levelled on Ainur Rosyieqa, though she looked more poised between the two. For their segment, I think the biggest letdown for both of them was their inability to para-phrase their question when their guest did not answer one of their initial questions properly. A good host should be able to listen and grasp quickly, in turn rephrasing their questions for their interviewee to understand, so that they are able to answer satisfactorily. This is what the judges are also looking out for and what Najip Ali meant by the term “Thinking Hosts“. It did not help that their guest personality’s facial expressions and body language showed as though he did not want to be there and struggling to find the words to answer them. For a good interview to work, both hosts and guest personalities should be equally forthcoming. The ending of their interview also felt as though the audience were left on a cliffhanger and this was felt by the audience when the cameras panned at them right after and they had quizzical looks on their faces.

Najip commenting on the performances of the second quartet – Fadzli Jani, Erna Ellieyana, Atiqah Hassan and Farid Azhar

As mentioned in the last paragraph, you need a good interviewee to make your interview look and sound more interesting for the audience, which the second group got in the form of personality Marina Yusoff, whom as I type this entry, is away on her Hajj pilgrimage. This segment saw the other contestants, Fadzli Jani, Erna Ellieyana, Atiqah Hassan and Farid Azhar, performing better as a whole over the previous four. I think for Fadzli Jani, the observations I have, as well as discussing with some others about his performance as a whole, is that he tends to overdo things unintentionally, which when done as a duo, steals away the limelight from his partner. If we are to host as a duo, it should be about complementing one another, or his partner could have also returned the favour in kind and matched his energy. Ellie‘s jovial personality is what makes her a standout and I feel that she is quite the fast learner, a sponge if I might add. Amongst the ladies in the Wildcard Round, I think she probably had the highest level of confidence, fresh from her elimination the previous week and hungry to do better. Not surprising that I had her and Mehga in mind as the probable ones to progress to the semi-finals prior to the show, with either one performing well than the other who would be more deserving. However, I still cannot imagine Ellie hosting a programme which is serious in nature just yet. Put her in a children’s show or a light-hearted info-ed programme, you will see her personality shining through. Even though I did say having both host and interviewee being forthcoming makes a good interview, the role of a host or moderator is even more important to get their guests to come out from their shells with how and what to ask. This can only be honed through time and experience, which unfortunately they do not have and have to rely on natural talent for now.

 

Rahila performed her second number of the night, the evergreen “Penawar Rindu“…

There is something about the way Atiqah mouths her lines which is a source of concern for me, and it’s not about the braces which I said previously that could be one of the factors hampering her. How she reads and pronounces her words has to sound as natural as possible. If the sentence ends with an exclamation mark, her tone should also sound equally excited. If the sentence ends with a question, her tone should also sound as though she is questioning and not putting a full stop to it. It is so much different when I talk to her in person because she sounds so relaxed and natural. Could jittery factors be reasons for her not to do well? Or is it a lack of fluency and confidence in the language? If it’s the latter, then it should be a learning point for all future would-be contestants to brush up on their fluency in speaking their mother tongue language. They should listen to the Malay radio stations more or watch the prime-time news bulletin on television to grasp how words and sentences are being pronounced. It has to be pointed out that for all my criticisms of Atiqah‘s performance, this was her best to date and I can say she has improved from the first time I watched her in the first episode. Farid to me, did just enough without being too extravagant or over in his mannerisms, as compared to Fadzli. However I still have misgivings about his energy level because he can look a bit uptight when it is not his turn to speak and when he opens his mouth to speak, he tries to maintain his cool persona. I think this is one source of frustration I have about Farid, since his time at 2016‘s Anugerah Skrin. He has to come out from his shell and let go at times because he looks like he is holding back most times.

The Top 3 who advanced to the second round of the Bestari segment – Ellie, Farid and Hisyam

The Bestari segment had me shaking my head right from the start, because for the first question alone, all of them got it wrong. Though the judges admitted that the segment was a tough one given the challenging questions, I think had the contestants listened more intently, they would have probably gotten their answers correct. Actually it was a no-brainer who would advance to the semi-finals once the dust had settled and we saw Erna Ellieyana, Farid Azhar and Hisyam Salimnor advancing to the second round, since Farid came out tops in the earlier segment and Ellie coming in second. Like I said in my previous entry, we usually can gauge who will advance to the following week if they perform well in the hosting and quiz segments, because at the end of the day, they are looking out for an all-rounded host, the ability to speak, think and do their respective homework. In this segment, Farid‘s hunger and eagerness to ace it came to light. For the second time in this competition, a lack of listening to the questions being read properly proved to be Hisyam‘s downfall. In his eagerness to keep up with his competition, he not only answered incorrectly but had a lot of people shaking their heads or slapping their foreheads. When I spoke to him post-show about the gaffe, he admitted that it was a grave mistake borne out of excitement and pressure to stay within touching distance of his fellow competitors.

Farid and Ellie atoned for their previous week’s elimination by redeeming themselves and advancing through to the semi-finals…

I’m not sure if it was due to a lack of time or if the show was over-run, but the X-Factor segment felt a bit hurriedly done once Farid was announced as the winner of the Bestari round, which left no room for pauses or breather for the contestants. I had at least expected them to usher in a short commercial break, but the contestants were immediately asked to up-sell themselves one final time before the judges made their final decisions. Given that Farid had topped both the Hosting and Bestari rounds, he could have eased off and just gone through the motions. To his credit, he did not relax and was a picture of calm and serenity when he spoke, which all the more confirmed his advancement into the semi-finals. Noh Irwan again looked unsure of himself, but he had a reason for it which he told me post-show. His initial lines were asked to be changed last minute, which resulted in him scrambling to pen and memorise a newer version. Though he did not delve on why his lines had to be changed, I felt that the producers could have just let him revised or tweaked them a bit and not change it entirely, resulting in him tripping on his words. Body language, eye movements and tone of voice also play important roles in this segment. The audience can easily detect who is not confident and unsure of themselves just by the way they look, they way they walk and the way they speak. For a majority of them, their lack of confidence for this segment proved to serve as confirmation of their elimination from the competition.

The Wildcard contestants sandwiching judge Nuraliza Osman post-show…

By the end of the show, it was merely a formality that Farid and Ellie‘s names were announced as the two whose journeys in the competition are still alive and well, with the other six bowing out with their heads at least held high knowing they have given off their very best. Tonight, we will get to see who amongst the ten will advance to the Grand Finals in a fortnight, with only six spots up for grabs. Even though we are at the stage of competition where it gets even tougher and harder, I would like to implore all of the contestants, even those who are already eliminated, to shed their inhibitions, grow thicker skins and just ask whoever, be it the judges, the hosts or any of the producers where they can improve, which flaws need to be lessened or what else can be done to make themselves better hosts. I am sure these people are approachable and able to share more from their vast experiences. All they need to do is ask, because no one is going to spoon-feed them, such is the harsh nature of the industry. For the eliminated ones, I can only hope they use the experience to improve on their shortcomings and come back for future competitions well-equipped to do better. They should look no further than host Fauzie Laily, who has worked hard to be where he is now, given that he was eliminated early in Anugerah 2003 but was one of the Top 3 for the ensuing competition in 2005. There are grooming and enrichment classes pertaining to the media industry organised by local personalities like Hafeez Glamour and Rilla Melati from time to time. These young upstarts should consider enrolling themselves in these classes to learn, equip and empower themselves so that they can be more confident and sure. Most importantly, their fluency in their mother tongue is paramount if they want to succeed…

Snapshots of Elit Suria Wildcard Round

Hafeez Glamour – Doktor Kereta Ambassador…

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I was kindly invited by bro Hafeez Glamour, my mentor back from my internship days with our local Malay radio stations, to cover this momentous event in his career – being appointed an ambassador for Doktor Kereta, a renowned local car dealing company, which is no stranger to the Malay community. This event was held on Saturday 12 March 2016 at the company’s new premises at Woodlands Horizon, where they recently shifted from their old place at Yio Chu Kang Road. Besides the appointment of bro Hafeez as ambassador, this event was also held to thank the customers of the company for their loyal patronage. I felt with the grand scale of the celebrations they had that day, it also felt like an event to celebrate the official opening of the new premises.

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The new premises of Doktor Kereta Pte. Ltd

There was a sizeable crowd that turned up, not only to watch the official announcement of bro Hafeez as the company’s ambassador, but also to meet and greet artistes like popular Malaysian actress, Yana Samsudin, our very own Aziz siblings – Aliff and Aisyah, Alias Kadir, as well as entertained by Kelly Azman and Luqman Damanuri, the latter two from Malaysia. Aisyah Aziz was on hand to pass free copies of her new single, “Titik Merah“, to the first one hundred visitors. The single which won the first prize in a local song composition contest held by Berita Harian and PERKAMUS, was composed by Sallys Music Production and written by Madam Amanah Mustafi from Mediacorp Eaglevision. It was released in conjunction with our recently-concluded SG50 celebrations.

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Yana Samsudin, whom I’ve taken a liking since I watched her in “Bini-Biniku Gangster” back in 2011, did not come empty-handed. Accompanied by her husband, Fadzil Zahari, she was also there to promote her new line of hijabwear called “Ayana“. It was hilarious seeing her and Kelly Azman playing games with some of the audience, getting them to wear her fashion line and making them do the catwalk with it. Aliff Aziz, who was accompanied by his fiancee, Bella Astillah and mother Madam Hafiza, entertained the crowd with his first ever hit, “Sayang-Sayang“. For a free event, the audience got their entertainment’s worth and got to meet popular names from both sides of the Causeway.

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Hafeez Glamour seen here with Ms. Aisyah Amirah and Mr. Haji Ismail Yusof, Assistant Director and Director of Doktor Kereta Pte. Ltd. right after his official announcement as Doktor Kereta Ambassador…

I understand that over the past month, there was some controversy pertaining to the local car dealing company. I don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment on the matter, as I am not involved directly at hand nor have read in detail what has transpired. However, the company has taken great pains to appoint a consultancy company, HalalHub Consultants Pte. Ltd. to help look into whatever grievances and shortcomings that might have occurred when dealing with their past customers. The consultancy company’s CEO, Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, lamented in his opening speech that he saw many complaints being made on Doktor Kereta‘s Facebook page but when they invited to meet those who had complained of poor service and claimed to have been “misled”, only a few have come forward so far. He, along with the car dealing company, hope that more will come forward, so that they can settle whatever misgivings, shortcomings and unhappiness amicably.

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Hafeez Glamour, posing in front of his newly-minted limousine with Mr. Sujimy Mohamad from Screenbox Pte. Ltd., Mr. Haji Ismail YusofMs. Aisyah Amirah, and Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, CEO of HalalHub Consultants Pte. Ltd

Bro Hafeez in his brief speech, expressed his gratitude at his appointment and hoped that it will bring back the confidence of the general public towards the company which has recently gone through a testing period in its existence. Passing useful advice to young artistes like Aisyah and Aliff Aziz in attendance, he said that such accolades are achievable through patience, hard work and to look beyond the hate that comes with the territory, to the point of forgiving, moreso in the unforgiving nature of the entertainment industry. As someone who is a veteran of the scene and has seen and experienced his fair share, those words certainly rang true. Congratulations to bro Hafeez Glamour on his recent appointment as ambassador of Doktor Kereta!!! Thank you once again for inviting me to cover the event as well as to the staff of Doktor Kereta for the kind hospitality… 🙂

RIA 89.7FM’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations…

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It has definitely been a long while since I last posted something in this domain of mine. I know I had promised before this that my next entry would be a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015. I have been quite tied up with my own commitments and still have to go through 3000-odd photographs from the 5000-odd that I had snapped that eventful night. I hope to post it up soon when I start to clear my annual leave. For now, I’ll share the event I attended about three weeks ago. At least this domain will not be dormant for too long.

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Kaw Kaw SG was the official event venue of the birthday bash…

RIA 89.7FM celebrated its twenty-five years of existence this past 1st December 2015 with a birthday bash held at Kaw Kaw SG, a chic restaurant situated at Aliwal Arts Centre. What was special about the birthday bash was, twenty-five lucky listeners got a chance to join in the fun through a week-long quiz during the week leading up to the event. I was supposed to attend their mini bash when they celebrated their 24th year anniversary last year held at Penang Street Buffet at Causeway Point but family commitments meant I had to give it a miss, but not this time.

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A shot of the cafe’s interior before the birthday bash…

I was fortunate to have been invited to cover the event and soaked in the festivities, not to mention, walked down memory lane reminiscing all the good memories of all the roadshows I attended, competitions I had participated and won, and also involved in some of the productions when I was an intern with both local Malay radio stations. Long-time listeners would remember me as part of the trio who impersonated KRU and won the Impersonation Category when the station organised the talent competition kRIAtif 897 back in 1997. That was the start of my love affair with the local Malay entertainment scene.

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The birthday bash was hosted by DJ KC and Dzar Ismail

Anyway back to the birthday bash. Not only were twenty-five lucky listeners able to join in, some of our local acts in the Malay music scene, were also invited to grace the event. And a birthday bash of this magnitude for the radio station would not be complete without the very pioneers who had paved the way and charted the road to where they stand today as a progressive and trendy station, that supports local acts and strives to give off optimal entertainment to the loyal listeners tuning in.

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The ones who have made RIA 89.7FM what it is today (from left): Hassan Salleh, Abdul Razak Rahim (RZ), Suriani Kassim (SK), Isadhora Mohamed, Raja Razie, Mohd Tahar Ghalib (TG), Morniyati Tukimin and Mariam Mas’od

It was nice to see the likes of Morniyati Tukimin, who was the first voice heard when RIA 89.7FM went live at 5pm on 1st December 1990, Suriani Kassim (SK), Abdul Razak Rahim (RZ), Mohd Tahar Ghalib (TG), Mariam Mas’od, Hassan Salleh and Isadhora Mohamed be a part of the occasion. Though I felt it would have been grander still had the likes of Hafeez Glamour, A B Shaik, Azmi Sempoi, Azmi Oh Yeah, Zarina Safuan, Chairul Fahmy, Zan Sofiyan and a host of other part-timers attended as well, but I guess all of them had their respective commitments to attend to.

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Art Fazil with an impromptu performance of “Relek Brader” with the two hosts…

We had special performances by the two current hotties in the local Malay entertainment scene, Sufie Rashid and Ryan Sufiyan, Farhan Shah who came all the way back from Perth, an impromptu performance by Art Fazil, Didicazli who introduced his new single “Izinkan Cinta“, as well as his protege, Hazirah Musfirah, a 14 year-old rising talent, and last but not least, former member of SleeQ, Syarif, who came with his expecting missus, Malaque Mahdaly. Initially, Dato’ Fazley Yaakob was slated and promoted to perform, but he was unable to make it due to last minute commitments. Nonetheless, those who had performed, more than made up for the non-appearance and everyone still felt contented and left the event feeling enjoyed.

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The attendees and guests of the birthday bash cramming together for a group photograph…

Another special aspect of the birthday bash was, it was broadcasted live on air between 3-5pm, so those who were unable to make it or joined in the fun, were fortunate enough to tune in and imagine the goings-on at Kaw Kaw SG. To complete a celebratory occasion, RIA 89.7FM was also awarded the longest tuned station in Singapore in a recent survey by AC Neilsen. For the record, Kaw Kaw SG was the official event venue sponsor of the birthday bash. Other sponsors for the bash were One Drop Perfumes, Karva SG, Perfect Frames, Nongsa Resorts, Grey By Ortenhill, Heiraz Bakery & Academy, Lovera Singapore, Hello Adiva, Suka Sucre Bistro, Inglot Singapore, Alive Museum SG and “Sambal Belimbing” by Roslan Shah

APM2015 Snapshots…

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I return once again with another APM2015 entry, my second instalment of this year’s edition. This time, I’ll be sharing miscellaneous shots I took during the “Red Carpet” event, the “Walk of the Stars” segment as well as a few shots I took post-event. Unfortunately there was no post-event reception this year and the “Walk of the Stars” segment had to be cut short due to time constraints before the event proper began, so there were not many photographs that I took and certainly less of a variety as compared to previous years.

Also since I am basically a one-man team, I had to leave the “Red Carpet” event at the hall’s entrance to take shots of the events transpiring on stage. In years past, I would have broken my entries into several postings, but this year, I’ll just post my miscellaneous snapshots under one entry, with my review coming much later, as I still have five thousand-odd photographs I need to sieve through and pick the best ones to be featured. Hope this filler entry before my review would help to satiate your thirst to view the photographs of the event. I will not put a timeframe to the publication of my review entry but I hope I will not take another month to post it up… 😛

LakiBini 2.0 Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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(All photographs courtesy of KreatiV OutBox)

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 9 Recap…

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The contestants might have felt uncomfortable performing the Boria during the earlier weeks but they seem to enjoy it as the weeks progress…

It has been a week since Episode 9 of Te:RaSeh! 2.0 was aired, but the high entertainment and humour aspects of that particular episode are still fresh in my head. I think it just edged the seventh episode as the most entertaining of the series thus far. The theme for the night (Horror), ensured that whatever costumes or make-up the contestants put on, were sure to tickle our fancy and scared those with faint hearts. Put in each contestant and how they immersed themselves in their respective characters, it was a laugh-a-minute fest that had people like me and my kids watching the re-runs and still laughing at the jokes days after. I personally feel that Fauzie Laily deserved the Celebrity-of-the-Match award as he was in character (dead World War II Japanese soldier) throughout from start till the cameras stopped rolling, and all the way, even after the show had ended.

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A. B. Shaik doing his best Michael JacksonThriller impersonation in front of his amused colleagues Khairudin Samsudin and Dalina Jaapar

I will not begrudge Azlin Ali as she too was also a deserving winner in her role as Makcik Keropok, when she appeared onstage at the start of the show munching on the Papadam in her hand and sharing it with the rest. When Danial Ashriq (Chucky) did his somersault from the stage during the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! HabisBoria), Azlin responded in kind by jumping off the stage and treating the already-bewildered audience with her own dance moves. I thought there and then that she was to be anointed the Celebrity-of-the-Match for tickling our bones with her antics, and I was not wrong at the end of the show. For the record, Azlin joins Suzairhe Sumari as the only two celebrities who have won the award twice throughout this season’s competition. No mean feat, but it is also testimony to how good they were in their respective roles and characters given to them by the producers of the show.

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The Mats, always game for a fun shot like this…

It was also a good show as it put everyone at the edge of their seats and willing each team on to win. It was nervy, not only for the contestants but to the watching audience in the Mediacorp TV Theatre, as well as those at home. I felt that the fight between both teams were so close, anyone could have won it. Going towards the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! Habis – Boria), both teams were separated by just ten points, with the Mats leading by that slender margin. In terms of showmanship, prose and creativity in delivering their lyrics, I felt the Mats edged the Minahs slightly, but with a guest judge who openly showed her support to the Minahs right from the first quarter of the show, I felt it was a losing battle for the Mats no matter how hard they tried and how good they were. I would like to believe that the show of support was deliberately done to shake the confidence of the Mat and dealt them a psychological blow, but no matter how I look at it, it’s not good viewing even for a show of this fun nature.

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The Minahs showing who was the number one last Tuesday

No, I am not saying the guys deserved to edge that last segment just because I’m a guy, but I think if we were to throw aside the bias and be more rational, we’ll agree that the guys showed better creativity when delivering their lyrics. Even some of the Minahs I spoke to post-show, agreed that the guys did slightly better. This is where I hope the Grand Finals tomorrow will be a fair affair. We already have two resident judges who represent each gender and can get away with the bias, though to their credit they have not been showing it so blatantly these past nine weeks. It’s the guest judges who hold the wild and trump cards. We could do without a repeat of last year’s mini-controversy whereby some of the guest judges showed whose side they were on. A judge has to be impartial afterall, even if this is a fun competition to begin with. One can show their quiet / gleeful support for their favourite teams via their votes during the Face-Offs, but not through openly-blatant display for the whole world to know. It somehow kills the spirit of competition and demoralises the other team, resulting in quiet discontent.

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Not surprised with the voting, with the Minahs clinching the overall win…

Though I am a bit disappointed with that particular aspect, I am still pleased to see the Minahs closing the gap as I had earlier predicted. Going into the Grand Finals tomorrow, from what I understand, the winner will win double the points, which means if the Minahs were to win, they would eventually leapfrog the Mats and end up being the dominant gender, not to mention the overall winner. As the score stands, the Mats are leading 5:4. With so much at stake for tomorrow’s Grand Finals, we’re going to see all the contestants giving their all in the special two-hour show. It’s gonna be another heart-stopping affair with the line-up ensuring there will be a good mix of contestants with differing abilities, capabilities and personalities. The Minahs will be represented by Nurul Aini, Huda Ali, Syirah Jusni, Azlin Ali and Nurfarhana M Noor. The Mats will have Suzairhe Sumari, Fauzie Laily, Fadhlur Rahman, Danial Ashriq and Hafeez Glamour fighting in their corner.

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Post-show interview with the Malam 2 Mat hosts Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. Azlin Ali stayed for the first ten minutes before going off as she had her daily morning show and needed to rest for the night. Nurul Aini and Danial Ashriq stayed throughout…

Before I end my entry, I would just like to commend Wawan Husen from Auraz Band for being the best Celebrity DJ throughout the nine weeks, at least from my personal standpoint. He did so much better and was so fluent as compared to some others who looked a little lost and unfocused, which resulted in some of the contestants and audience wincing and lamenting afterwards about points lost during the Q&A segment. For his reward, I believe Wawan will be back for another round tomorrow. Another three that did well so far and caught my eyes were Ashmi Roslan, Ryan Sufiyan and Shikin Imran. Not too sure though how many will be allowed in the radio conty tomorrow. But what is more important is that, I am hoping for a clean, fun, entertaining and fair fight from all contestants as they not only entertain us with their antics, but also channelling all their efforts for a good cause, winning points and monetary proceeds for their respective charity beneficiaries. I wish all the contestants all the best and play safe!!!