Pesta Perdana 2019 Media Conference

We are just a few days away from the actual Pesta Perdana event itself, relatively about 48 hours on the clock. Dunno why it took me this long to post this entry when the media conference event that took place to announce the nominees in the various award categories happened more than a month ago on 21st February 2019. A combination of being busy with several personal commitments, coupled with being lazy and procrastinating contributed somewhat to this very belated entry. I had half the mind to just skip doing it altogether seeing how short of a time I have to post this up with just a couple of days away. I just had to do it as the memory of the media conference itself, or rather its venue where it was held, was probably the best one I had attended in the history of this awards show. For the first time ever, the media conference was held at the beautiful Skai Suites on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford, one of Singapore‘s iconic buildings and once billed as the tallest hotel in the world.

Mediacorp Suria’s prestigious television awards show, Pesta Perdana, will be held this year ‘live’ on Saturday, 30 March 2019 at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp. The event will be graced by Guest of Honour, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Manpower. The biennial awards show, now into its 15th edition, honours the very best in local Malay television. This year’s show will be hosted by multi-talented actor, director and host, Khairudin Samsudin. As a celebratory prelude, fans had the opportunity to meet and greet their favourite celebrities and nominees in a special event called Viva Pesta! that was held on Saturday, 16 March 2019 at Mediacorp Campus Town Square. Hosted by A B Shaik and Farhana M. Noor, the event featured an exciting line up of immersive and interactive activities with delicious food and many instagram-worthy moments for the fans. In addition, fans at Viva Pesta! also attended a special prelude TV show, Pesta Perdana Ekstra! hosted by recently-minted Elit Suria winners, Hans Hamid and Hana Rosli. This show will air tomorrow on Friday, 29 March 2019 at 9.30pm on Mediacorp Suria.

Warna 94.2FM‘s Aura Shai was the host at the media conference…

A total of 31 awards will be given out at the Pesta Perdana awards ceremony from over 300 entries received between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018. Shortman Films’ social drama Bantal Buruk Saloma leads with 11 nominations while Mediacorp Eaglevision’s “Tujuh Hariis close behind with 10 nominations. This is followed by Flipside Stories’ “Mekah Di Hati and Millenia Motion Pictures’ “Tekan Minyak which are tied with 7 nominations each. In a nod to the budding new talents of the industry, this year’s Pesta Perdana boasts a total of 30 first time nominees in the performance and creative categories. Interestingly, for five celebrity families, it is all the more special as they are all up for nominations in the various categories and they are:

  • J.A. Halim, Aminah Ahmad, Helmindra & Fizah Nizam (Father, Mother, Son & Daughter-in-Law)
  • Sani Hussin & Rosita Hussin (Siblings)
  • Seriwahyuni Jaes & R. Azmann (Husband & Wife)
  • Faisal Ishak & Umie Isa (Husband & Wife)
  • Haslinna Ja’aman & Danial Nazim (Mother & Son)

Ms. Sabariah Ramilan, Head of Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Mediacorp addressing the guests at the media conference…

Other nominees include Papahan Film’s “SR115, winner of Best Original Screenplay at the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2018 and finalist at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019 for Drama and Best Screenplay categories; Xtreme Media’s “Swap Kerja Sr 2, finalist for Outstanding Variety Show category at the 4th Asia Rainbow TV Awards 2018, as well as Filmat36’s “Kembara Kasih Sr 3, nominee for Best Documentary category at the Venice TV Awards 2018 and finalist in the Community Service Programs category at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019. Two other nominated programmes, “Bonda and “Projek Kasih, are also recognised finalists at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019 for Drama Special and Variety Special category respectively.

Ms Sabariah Ramilan, Head of Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Mediacorp, said, “For nearly two decades, Mediacorp Suria has been working closely with local production houses and talents to ensure our programmes entertain, engage and remain relevant to our audiences. We are proud to see our programmes receive recognitions at the regional and international stage, but it is right here at Pesta Perdana that we celebrate and embrace the achievements of our homegrown talents.”

Hisyam Hamid being sandwiched by his missus, Mel Hanafi, and veteran actor, J.A. Halim

Though I agree with what was said, I did have a chat with several local personalities in different fields whom I will not name, who said a lot can be done after 15 editions of the awards show. For one and this has been mentioned extensively amongst the people in the industry, it would be nice to have monetary cash rewards to go along with the trophies they receive, something that we tend to see on some awards shows across the Causeway. However, to put things into perspective, Pesta Perdana is like our own local Malay version of the Emmy Awards. If we were to put it along parallel levels of such awards show (the Grammys and Oscars included), monetary awards are not given out, yet the prestige in winning speaks volumes for the artistes’ or production houses’ reputation, potential and quality. Monetary cash rewards means we need big sponsors pumping in big money. In reality, do we have that in the first place???

From left: Ryan Sufiyan, Razi Salam & M.K. Kash from Flipside Stories, and Fadhli Abdullah

For the Most Popular Male and Female Personality categories which are decided by voting, a prominent personality mentioned that it would also be nice if we were to take a leaf out of Channel 8‘s Star Awards show and crown the Top 5 or Top 10 from each category. Voters can have an initial choice of 30 from each category, 10 from the veterans, 10 from the current and the remaining 10 from the up-and-coming cohort. This particular system makes it an inclusive category and not leave the veterans forgotten or feel as though they are cast aside for younger, more good-looking and marketable personalities. I know for a long time, our local television scene has this tendency to favour looks over talents in the name of marketability, but I think it would not hurt at all to have the more veteran ones have their day in the sun. At least they know they have a place in the hearts of viewers and not just the young ones with better social media outreach. For the record, the public may cast their votes for the Most Popular Male and Female Personalities on toggle.sg/pestaperdana. Voting has been opened since 15 March 2019 and will officially close at 10.00pm on 30 March 2019.

Erwin Shah Dawson was seated next to fellow award nominees Aien Aksan (middle) and Batrisya Soffian

Another thing I would like to mention and this I feel is repeated like a bad record on my end cos I’ve said the same thing before in the past, is that certain categories can be expanded or introduced to include more production houses and not just solely limited to one. I have nothing against Mediacorp Eaglevision cos they, like all the other production houses, produce good and quality programmes on television. But when one category is dominated by just them, it doesn’t look quite good on paper as it looks as though it is favouritism, since they are producing this awards show after all, though I do note that this is probably an (only) avenue to honour their amazing in-house writers and producers. They can probably tweak the categories in future or as what I had mentioned in the past before, to have other production houses produce more of these Variety and Variety Special programmes on Suria, not just limited to them and being an in-house production company of Mediacorp. I think once in awhile, a different and fresh injection of ideas from others can produce a different kind of show on television. At least then we can deny the brickbats on social media that local television shows are one and the same.

From left: Atyy Malek, Endang Rahayu, Andy Idris and Huda Ali

With that said, I am looking forward to attending and covering this Saturday‘s event, as it is looking more likely that this will be the only awards show this year that local television will witness. I’ve heard and this has been confirmed by several people that my favourite awards show, Anugerah Planet Muzik, has been consigned to the history books, a big pity really, as this was an event that I looked forward to fervently every year, not only for the array of stars coming to perform and win the regional awards on offer, but also an avenue for our local musicians, artistes and songwriters to be recognised for their contributions to the music scene. My appeal to the powers-at-be is never to forget nor cast aside our local acts. Even if we were to resurrect the one-time Anugerah Hitz SG, I will be more than happy because this domain of mine was afterall first conceived, in the aim of supporting local music acts, though I sometimes blog on other regional acts on show here as well. Doing away with APM took a big chunk out of my interest in blogging and seriously speaking, I really lost interest and almost called it a day when I first heard the news. I guess that partly contributed to why I hummed and hawed before finally deciding to post this entry up.

A beaming Fadli Kamsani, who is now the latest face in Warna 94.2FM‘s stable, seated alongside his good friends, Danish Ashraf (left) and Farhana M. Noor

Pesta Perdana goes live on Mediacorp Suria at 8:30pm this Saturday, 30th March 2019. The Red Carpet event will be shown live on Mediacorp Suria‘s Facebook page from 6:30pm onwards.

Pesta Perdana 2019 Full List of Nominees

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Graphics Posters of Nominees courtesy of Mediacorp Suria…

Snapshots of Pesta Perdana 2019 Media Conference

Anugerah Skrin Episode 8 Recap…

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I foresee another short entry just like the last one. This past Tuesday (15 March 2016) saw the competition saying its goodbyes to four contestants, thus leaving the Top 6 to duke it out in the Grand Finals episode in a matter of nine days from the day I published this entry. As the same format applied from the previous week, the male contestants who were up against one another had to act out scenes from popular drama shows on Mediacorp Suria over the past year or so, with another established actor from the opposite gender. This week saw them collaborating with the likes of Farhana M Noor, Izyan Mellyna, Hashimah Hamidon, Era Farida and Mariana Yati. The guest judges from the previous week, Ariati Tyeb Papar and Zaidi Ibrahim, returned once again to the hot seats.

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Farhana M Noor and Fadli Kamsani…

Fadli Kamsani was first up with Farhana M Noor, from a scene taken off Rempuh. Judge Sharon Ismail was not quite impressed when she commented that Fadli‘s acting was one-layered and he needed to find more reasons for his character to be unhappy. I personally found the performance quite average because there were times when his body language and dialogue delivery did not quite sync. For his hosting segment, I actually like hearing his voice tone, calm and measured, though I also agree with judge Khairudin that his intonations could be better expressed when stressing of certain words. I also note that Fadli looked a bit tensed and that he was trying to maintain his presentable outlook more than trying to get himself messy. The least he could have done for his segment was wear an apron, or better still, donned the chef’s hat, even if his involvement with decorating the cake was minimal. I was thinking, what was so scary or fearful about decorating a cake???

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Iskandar Shah and Era Farida…

Iskandar Shah was next as he paired with Era Farida in a scene from Bubur Masjid Air Katira season 3. Guest judge Ariati pointed out that Iskandar‘s performance seemed rushed and his emotions at the start of the skit, were not in tune with his dialogue. I found the comments a bit too harsh as I thought he gave off a confident performance, though not as the same level as the one he had when he sparred with Syaiful Ariffin a fortnight ago. I liked the way he mouthed off his lines, with firmness, clarity and authority, just what the role called for. His hosting segment felt a bit odd though, in that they classified learning to dance the Zapin as something to be “feared”. Judge Sharon noted that he overacted and that singing during the introduction did not quite suit what was required of him. While I agree that singing was perhaps redundant, moreso because he did not get enough “lenggok” to his tune, actually it was something different and unique that he injected into his style. On the part of overacting, it was minimal if you compare Iskandar‘s style to Danish Ashraf‘s.

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Izyan Mellyna and Kamarul Arifin…

Izyan Mellyna reprised her role as Farhana in the recently-concluded drama series of the same title. She was paired with Kamarul Arifin. I tried to get a feel of their scene, both when watching live at the Mediacorp TV Theatre and upon watching it again via Catch-Up TV, but both instances I felt a certain feeling of emptiness at Kamarul‘s character portrayal. It felt one-dimensional and hollow, even if he tried and gave off his best to inject emotions and sadness to his character. The dialogue delivery failed to leave an impact on those watching and this was also pointed out by guest judge Zaidi Ibrahim, who said it lacked character. Kamarul‘s hosting also did not quite impress me that much because I felt he was more concerned about how he looked onscreen and his diction, than being natural and getting himself hot and sweaty for his rigorous activity. My mind was made up after watching his acting performance that he would be one of the two male contestants to be eliminated.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Hashimah Hamidon…

If I was squirming when I watched Yaya Hamid and Fir Rahman last week, that same feeling returned when I watched Syaiful Ariffin in action with Hashimah Hamidon from their scene taken off Mengejar Mentari. What was most eye-catching about this acting performance was Syaiful‘s intense eye-contact with his sparring partner. It felt so natural even if the whole situation felt a bit wrong. Like what judge Ariati had said, there was sincerity in Syaiful‘s acting though I have to caution him that his intonations can sound a bit off, but it was minimal for this performance. Based on his academic background alone, Syaiful seems the strongest when it comes to acting and he needs a very good sparring partner for him to give off his best as we have seen two weeks ago with Iskandar Shah and this week with Hashimah. His hosting though needs lots of improvement. At times it feels as though I am watching an “orang lama” because he has a kind of style of presenting, complete with facial expressions, that remind me of the actors and personalities from the glory days of Jalan Ampas. Actually he wouldn’t look out of place if he were to be cast in shows depicting that era.

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Mariana Yati and Danish Ashraf…

Last but not least, Danish Ashraf. I did say in one of my previous entries, he has been quite fortunate to have been getting roles that fit his personality. In fact his similarities to Anugerah Skrin 2006 alumnus, Junaidi Sali, are uncanny in that they both tend to excel in comedy and antagonist roles. Which is why I felt he has not been properly challenged yet up till this point. Danish teamed up with Mariana Yati from a scene in 2014‘s popular Belah Hati series. For the first time, I saw a weakness in Danish‘s acting performance and this had more to do with him being challenged out of his comfort zone. He looked a bit off trying to balance his emotions which required him to be exasperated, angry and eventually sad by the scene end, which was not easy. Personally I did not quite like his acting performance for this round and thought he looked vulnerable for the axe, but that is me being a bit harsh. However, I felt he was the best amongst the rest when it came to the hosting segment. He has a distinct style of presenting, full of natural wisecracks and funny quips, even if the cynic in me would say he tends to overact. The only complaint I have is the same as the one I made with Fadli Kamsani‘s, in that he should have used an apron and wore a chef’s hat, not only for realism’s sake, but also hygiene purposes cos both of them were dealing with food.

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Seconds before the elimination…

I had envisaged in my last entry the ones who would leave the competition amongst the young ladies who competed last week, even though I did not identify their names. I was half correct when I guessed Wirda Elliesa‘s elimination right, but I was caught between Syafiqah Shahlan and Shida Lestaluhu. I think what tipped Syafiqah‘s favour was her hosting segment which she aced amongst her fellow competitors. As for the guys, I had Kamarul‘s elimination spot-on, but I did not see Iskandar Shah‘s coming. It hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I believe, just like Ain Zainal‘s elimination a fortnight ago, a number of people were left reeling in shock as well cos we did not see it coming. I had actually thought the other elimination would go the way of Fadli Kamsani or Danish Ashraf, but both of them made it to the Grand Finals.

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Presenting to you the Grand Finalists of Anugerah Skrin 2016 – Danish Ashraf, Fadli Kamsani, Syaiful Ariffin, Nurul Nadia, Yaya Hamid and Syafiqah Shahlan…

Next week, there will be no live broadcast from the Mediacorp TV Theatre nor Studio 4 as footage from the Boot Camp, which the finalists have gone through over two days this past Wednesday and Thursday at Changi Civil Service Club, would be aired instead. Which means, I get a much-needed break from my weekly entries on the competition. Please do not expect any entries on the Boot Camp episode as I will not be making any, but I believe there are other self-styled critics out there who will be doing it, complete with scene-by-scene takes and comments on everything and anything they see. And so we say congratulations to the six finalists – Syafiqah Shahlan, Danish Ashraf, Nurul Nadia, Fadli Kamsani, Yaya Hamid and Syaiful Ariffin. Commiserations are due to the four eliminated – Wirda Elliesa, Iskandar Shah, Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin. I think it’s too cliche and oft-repeated, but it is never the end of their journey once they are eliminated. There will always be avenues and opportunities for them. They just need to improve and hone their craft on their own. Others before them have done that, who is to say they cannot follow suit??? 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8

Pesta Perdana 13 Snapshots

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

#theSyarifs’ Wedding Dinner Event…

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Back with the third and final instalment of #theSyarifs‘ wedding. This entry will feature photographs of the wedding dinner event, which I felt resembled a mini Pesta Perdana event, with the local Malay entertainment scene’s personalities making their presence by gracing the occasion. It was a long day for the newly-weds as well as those who had worked hard to make the whole event tick, yet everyone was smiling throughout till the very end, happiness etched on their faces and sharing the joy of the newlyweds. The wedding dinner event was held at the same venue (Alkaff Mansion) as the earlier morning’s solemnisation ceremony and lunch reception.

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Like the solemnisation ceremony, those who had tuned in to the couple’s official Youtube channel, would have gotten a glimpse of what went on live via the webstream. Unfortunately I heard that the full clip has been taken down by Youtube due to copyright infringements of some of the songs featured. Though you will not be able to view the clip, I hope this entry would satiate your thirst to view some of the event’s happenings as well as see who’s who in the local Malay entertainment scene who had turned up. This was afterall THE “Wedding of the Year” for 2014, for me. It would be criminal not to feature this entry in my blog, especially when the groom took great pains to invite me and the wife to attend. For that I say “Thank You!!!” to Syarif and Malaque for having us, me in particular, for almost the whole day.

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The wedding dinner event was hosted by Ben Muthusalam, Syarif‘s intern-mate when he did his internship with Mediacorp back in 2009. Please don’t ask me why the host’s name has an Indian surname. Maybe his good friends reading this can help to enlighten me cos I’m in the dark myself. Guests were treated to lovely performances by local groups The Trisno Trio and Northbound, as well as a guest performance by Malaysia‘s Dina Nadzir, whose rendition of Katy Perry‘s “Unconditionally“, had my hairs standing. She is such an under-rated vocal powerhouse. We also witnessed Syarif singing a song titled “Malaque“, which he had composed with Trisno Ishak just two weeks leading up to the wedding event.

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The eleven-tier wedding cake was specially baked by Malaque herself, whom some of us know specialises in pastries, desserts and cakes. Also, the cheesecake recipe during the dinner event itself, was specially concocted by her, assisted and executed by Chef Siti Mastura and team. Female guests were fortunate to have received a make-up kit by Benefit Cosmetics, to go along with the main door gifts consisting of a Grey by Ortenhill bag, a lovely jar series, Sugee cake by Chef Siti Mastura and Calvin Klein parfum vials. The gifts oozed class in every sense, a reflection of the newlyweds. All in all, it was a wonderful and memorable wedding event and here’s wishing the newlyweds once again a blissful married life with filial kids in tow… 🙂