APM2017 Red Carpet & Post-Event Reception Snapshots

I’m back with the second instalment of my APM2017 series. Apologies for making you wait this long for this entry as I was juggling editing the rest of the photographs I took that night and revising with the kids for their final-year exams which will end this coming midweek. Even though I have finished editing the photographs, the proper review entry is still in the pipeline and will not be up till probably next weekend or slightly later. So I hope you can wait a bit more. I’ll try to do it as soon as possible as it has been three years since I last did one. Anyway, I have come to observe that people usually come to this domain of mine to view photographs of recent event happenings, or to look out for photographs of local personalities they would like to get to know, especially the new faces. You might also have stumbled upon my page cos you were Googling for some personalities and this page happens to be one of the top search hits.

For the regional readers, they might not know who is who in the Singapore Malay entertainment scene, so in a way I am providing that yeoman service of assisting your queries. I’ve even had feedback from production companies that my blog has been of great help for them to scout for talents. Just glad I am able to help in any way I can, that too without hoping for any rewards or payments. This is also another reason that gave me that wee bit of drive to continue blogging when I recently felt I wanted to pack it all in. I’ll stop blabbering for now and just share with you some selected shots I took during the Red Carpet segment and Post-Event Reception at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2017. Didn’t take that many shots but I guess they will do for now before I come up with my last instalment entry.

 

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Artistes from Paranormal TalentsAyda Jebat, Haikal Ali, Aisyaah Aziz and the company’s chief Melakaboy

Back with my second instalment. I actually wanted to post this entry up this past Wednesday but got caught up with some personal matters, hence the delay in publishing this entry. For those who are in my Facebook contact list or linked to those whom I had tagged, you’re probably the more fortunate ones cos you get to view these photographs much earlier when I uploaded them early this past week. Anyway these photographs are just a selected few and not everything that I had shared on Facebook. Personally I feel that I did not snap that many photographs during the Red Carpet event, the Pre-Event Cocktail Reception and the Post-Event Reception, as my attention that night was taken up by chatting with some of the artistes and people in the industry. I only realised how few my photographs were when I uploaded all of them onto my PC, hence why I combined them all into one entry. Hope it will suffice for now as I continue to edit and select the 3000-odd photographs I snapped that night and of course come up with my review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016

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

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7 1643The female semi-finalist contestants (from left): Nurul Nadia, Shida Lestaluhu, Syafiqah Shahlan, Wirda Elliesa and Yaya Hamid

It was all about “Girl Power” this past Tuesday night (8th March 2016), as the first semi-final episode of this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition was aired live from the small confined space of Studio 4. In line with the International Women’s Day celebrations that day, the five young ladies who have progressed thus far at this stage, were given the opportunity to take centrestage. For the semi-final rounds, the contestants are required to act with a renowned actor from the opposite gender and from scenes of popular drama shows on Suria, which these more established actors have acted in. As for the hosting segment, they were tasked to host outdoors and alone, unlike previous rounds where they had a sparring partner amongst themselves. This past week, their hosting tasks brought them to the island of Sentosa. Last Tuesday also saw an addition of two guest judges in Ariati Tyeb Papar and Zaidi Ibrahim, two previous Pesta Perdana winners, no slouches in their respective crafts.

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Jeff Catz and Nurul Nadia

Nurul Nadia was paired with Jeff Catz for the first acting segment of the night and they acted a scene from the four-part series, SAGA. Khairudin Samsudin commented that Nurul Nadia‘s performance was superb and I feel that it was justified. I think it helped her a lot in terms of putting in the sad emotions when Jeff‘s character blew his top and raised his voice at her. The only downside was her lack of eye expressions which looked as though they disappeared somewhat when she cried. As for her hosting, it was a bit of a hit and miss for me, good in patches and having less confidence during the rest of the takes. At this stage, one’s confidence should be up there already and not stuck with the jitter bug. At times I see Nurul Nadia a bit too meek. She has to come out from her fear and comfort zones if she wants to win this competition. However, I think she might be good enough for a grand finals spot by virtue of her acting performance alone. Finally, the judges realised her voice resemblance to Huda Ali‘s which I had pointed out weeks ago when the competition first started.

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Norman Ishak and Wirda Elliesa

I personally thought Wirda Elliesa did slightly better than previous weeks, when she was partnered with Norman Ishak for their scene taken from Firasat. However, she was told that her character’s supposed firm traits had more anger instead. This is where the finer technical details of their acting are scrutinised by the judges as we get closer to crowning them as winners. For the laymen like us who watch from the comfort of our screens, we feel that it was believable to an extent, but perhaps not in the eyes of the judges. I personally felt a bit uncomfortable watching the preview scene when they were interviewing both of them, cos when Norman was being interviewed, Wirda was looking down and adjusting her hair, instead of towards the camera, a slightly bad habit I noticed since the earlier episodes. Some viewers might view that as lacking in manners, but to give benefit of doubt, I believe she might have thought that the focus of the camera was on Norman alone. As for her hosting, it felt quite ordinary and the questions posed were too basic though I dunno if it was part of the script or they had to think of the questions themselves. Instead of “promoting” the Luge, I think the attention of the viewers was more on her than what she was presenting about.

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Fido Ahdross and Syafiqah Shahlan

For the first time in the competition, I detected a lack of confidence in Syafiqah Shahlan’s acting performance. She has always been a model of consistency but during her segment with Fido Ahdross, when they played out a scene from A&E, I could sense that her mind was probably not focused with what she had to deliver, thus resulting in a lack of emotions and an overall average performance. Not for the first time that night that the judges pointed out the lack of expressions in the contestants’ eyes. Syafiqah‘s saving grace was her hosting performance which had the word “FUN” spelt out in capital letters to indicate her personal experience and even the audience who might have felt the same, just by watching her segment. The only grouse I have is they could have gotten a better instructor who could speak the Malay language fluently. It felt odd watching a Malay-sounding named person speaking in English for a Malay programme. Worse, his grammar was atrocious for someone who is more comfortable speaking in English. I’m sorry, it’s my OCD kicking in…

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A. Mahadi and Shida Lestaluhu…

I did say in my Episode 3 entry that Shida Lestaluhu was probably not ready for a comedy role yet. A month has passed since I made those remarks and even though I feel that she is still not yet ready, I note a better performance from her alongside A. Mahadi. They had reprised a scene from the highly popular Menantu International drama series. At first glance, the ad-lib of the tie on the mannequin in the scene felt normal, but upon watching again, I agreed with the judges that it sounded a bit off. Shida‘s intonations could also have been expressed better especially on the parts where she had her verbal joustings complete with traditional Malay idioms. For her hosting, I think she did better as an individual as opposed to having a sparring partner. But like what judge Sharon Ismail had pointed out, she has to be aware of her camera angles and not be seen as though she is looking down on her interviewee.

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Fir Rahman and Yaya Hamid…

Finally we come to Yaya Hamid. If you compare her performance as well as Nurul Nadia‘s, whom I felt were the better performers of the night, I am more inclined to say I enjoyed Yaya‘s performance with Fir Rahman more. Their scene taken off Kosmopolitan, was a public display of affection (albeit in a private office setting), which had me feeling uncomfortable and squirming, for the fact that it seemed almost believable. I liked the way they interacted with their eyes towards the end, I thought it felt quite intensed and electric. I feel that Yaya‘s acting has steadily improved as the weeks progress, though I would also caution her that she can still improve on her stressing of words along with her emotions. Her hosting segment was good to a certain extent. There were times where vibrancy and zest were missing in her presentation delivery but overall I thought she still did ok. She was brave enough to let her hair down just going through the motions of the trapeze act.

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The guys ready to rock Episode 8: Syaiful Ariffin, Danish Ashraf, Iskandar Shah, Kamarul Arifin and Fadli Kamsani

As expected, there were no eliminations in Episode 7. However Episode 8 will be slightly more brutal and intensed than previous weeks, in that four contestants will be given the axe, two each from the guys and ladies. I am not sure who amongst the ladies will be eliminated at this stage, because my personal observations might not tally with the judges. However based on the judges’ comments, I more or less know who will be saying goodbye to the competition this coming Tuesday. I will not say it here because I do not want to make the young ladies’ respective morale drop even before Tuesday has arrived. They left Episode 7 still smiling, which was a rare sight, and I do not want them to come into Episode 8 all sad and gloomy. Before I end, I just want to say, I love this particular entry as it is the shortest to date for this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition!!! 😛

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Celebrity Friendly Football Match: Mediacorp Suria vs. Persatuan Seniman Malaysia

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Due to personal health reasons and family commitments, I have not been involving myself with anything pertaining to our local Malay entertainment scene since Pesta Perdana ended, in fact harking back to the end of the Ratu Suria competition. You can safely say that I have been switching myself off from the scene. I had initially planned to attend and post weekly photographs of the current TeRaSeh competition which is currently underway, but the fact is, I have not attended a single weekly episode since its inception some seven weeks ago, no thanks to my schedule and also my reservist, which was during Episodes Two and Three. However, thanks to Mediacorp Suria, I was brought out of my “hibernation” for a memorable trip to Kuala Lumpur recently.

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Our kind sponsors for the trip – Orange Coach & Travel Pte. Ltd.

Close to four weekends ago, I was fortunate to be invited by Mediacorp Suria to be a part of the football team that took on Persatuan Seniman Malaysia at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, which is situated in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Similar to the last Piala Dollah Kassim tournament, the squad that travelled to Kuala Lumpur was more or less the same with Rafaat Hamzah again captaining the side and familiar faces like Shahril Wahid, Sahfuddin Mahfudz, Effandy Idris, Anugerah Skrin 2010 alumnus Md Idris Jamin, Aidil Jufri Jumari, Raja Razie, not forgetting the First XI players Alang, Mohd Helmi and Faliq Sudhir. This team also welcomed a few guest players namely Danial Ashriq, Izzat Yusoff, Hasyf Nasir, Hafiz Nasir, Noe Chicanoe (Opening Act Go Glam fame) and local singer Raja Izzuwin Shah, who also acted as the coordinator of this friendly match, along with his wife Lydia (Shootz 19).

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The Kelab Sultan Sulaiman pitch with the stunning backdrop of KLCC Twin Towers

It was initially advertised that some players from the opposing team were supposed to play, but the only ones I knew who took to the pitch were ex-members of Nico, Shades, KOOL (who are all known as the super group GX-4 by the way) and Kamal Adli. The rest were unknown to me, simply for the fact that I do not watch Malaysian dramas or shows to be kept abreast of who’s who. Acappan and Isma Aliff as well as the President of Persatuan Seniman Malaysia (you-know-who) were initially touted to play, but the former two were not seen and the latter did not change into his gear, but remained a concerned spectator by the sidelines. I was actually looking forward to meeting Isma Aliff, a legend in his own right for the number of comedy films he did back in the late 80s, as well as recording several parody songs which I remember till this day.

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Players warming up before the match…

Anyway, the match was a whitewash, played in three halves of half an hour each. I hope I don’t sound too pompous and arrogant when I used the word “whitewash”, but I cannot describe it any other way. It was too one-sided, even if our team had started the first fifteen minutes playing with a lot of jitters and making a number of basic, silly mistakes, myself included. We were tired as we only arrived in Kuala Lumpur two hours prior to the game, but the moment we scored our first goal through Razif Ariff, we began to dictate play and became more confident. Further goals by Raja Izzuwin Shah, Danial Ashriq, yours truly (yes I had a cameo playing upfront in the last ten minutes, scoring with my first touch!!!) and a brace by Alang, made the scoreline a bit too flattering. You can understand why I said a 6-0 scoreline is a bit flattering.

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Alang celebrating his first goal and the team’s fourth for the evening…

Much had been said prior to the game by well-wishers online, when they saw who was initially supposed to play in the opposing team (no prizes for guessing who). I know it is easy to get sucked into nationalistic feelings or be aggrieved by the constant sniping by you-know-who with regards to some of our artistes making a name for themselves across the Causeway. But the match was indeed a friendly match born out of goodwill and I was glad that it remained extremely cordial from the start right to the end. For that I am very happy that the players were all playing with smiles on their faces and never put ourselves in situations where things could get complicated. We were ambassadors of our country afterall and it was a great advertisement to show that we were professional, gracious and respectful towards our hosts. Let’s hope that we can return the same favour when the second leg returns in June, this time on our home soil.

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Both sets of players in a show of solidarity and friendship after the match ended…

P.S. Special thanks go out to bro Syah Ibrahim and his team from Orange Travel for kindly sponsoring our trip to Kuala Lumpur as well as the the accomodation at Sunway Putra Hotel. The service and hospitality rendered were first class. Thank you also to Mediacorp Suria for again inviting me to join the football team and team manager Ishak Jamid for allowing me to play upfront as a striker for the last ten minutes of the game. I enjoyed the trip very much and brought home memorable moments I could replay in my head from time to time. For the record, Alang was awarded the Top-Scorer trophy whereas Mohd Helmi was awarded the Man-of-the-Match award. Prizes were kindly sponsored by none other than popular radio deejay of ERA.FM and comedian, Johan (Raja Lawak). Last but not least, to the two busloads of supporters who made their way up just to support us, THANK YOU!!!

(All photographs and video clip featured in this entry are courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

MJ12 – Kronik DVD Promo…

After the resounding success of Konsert Misteri Jam 12 – Jangan Takut Hantu held at Fort Canning Park on New Years’ Day, RIA 89.7FM, Cokelat Events & Production and Gridmedia, have teamed up to produce a Misteri Jam 12-themed DVD titled “MJ12 – Kronik“. The DVD contains four short stories sent in by listeners of the most popular programme of the aforementioned radio station. Directed by Rafaat Haji Hamzah and Khairudin Samsudin, the four short stories feature the likes of radio presenters Hafeez Glamour, RZ and Fiza O, as well as up-and-coming artistes like Kai Abu Bakar (Kopi Bujang Season 2), Hisyam Hamid (Cut Amirah) and Rahayu Ridwan (Anugerah 2011 winner). There is a guest appearance by Ustaz Taufiq Ismail and DJ KC acts as the narrator / presenter.

I had the honour of sitting through three consecutive nights of filming, the first at Old Upper Thomson Road and the remaining nights at Wing Tai Building. I have never sat through a filming set before, so this was quite an eye-opening experience. The experience exposed me to some of the works that our talented artistes and backroom crew do which most of us do not get to see. Most of us only see the end product and appreciate the glamour associated with the entertainment scene. Trust me when I say “glamour” is only 10% while the rest is all sweat, toil, blood and tears. Through this experience, I learned to appreciate the hard work put in by everyone in a production. And for that I have to thank Rafaat and his wife Azizah for having me around.

I will not delve too much on what I saw and what I experienced. Instead, I will share with you snapshots I took during the three nights of filming as well as behind-the-scenes footage. Plus I don’t think I need to say much when it comes to the most popular show on local Malay radio. The name “MJ12” itself is an enticement on its own. But in case you are wondering how to go about purchasing the DVD, fret not. Here are the details on how to get the DVD. You can make payment via the following modes:

Bank: OCBC (Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation)
Account No.: 555842640001
Account Type: Corporate

Or

Bank: POSB (Post Office Savings Bank)
Account No.: 049-40431-0
Account Type: Savings Account

Payments can also be made via Paypal at http://cokelatbox.com/products/mj12-kronik/

You have to indicate your name for the distributors’ reference. For payments via the ATM or at the counter, do send Cokelat Events & Production Pte. Ltd. a copy of the transaction slip for verification. Upon receipt of payment, Cokelat Events & Production Pte. Ltd. will email you an acknowledgment note which also confirms your order. DVDs can be delivered or self-collected at the MJ12 booth located outside Tanjong Katong Complex (till the end of Ramadhan). After Ramadhan, it can be self-collected at COKELAT‘s Office.

This coming Saturday, 4th August 2012, the “MJ12 – KronikDVD will be officially launched at Tanjong Katong Complex. The event is held outside the building where the concourse leading to the main entrance of the building is at. If I’m not mistaken, where Fotohi Carpet Gallery has a booth during this festive period. DJ KC will be making an appearance from 4.30pm to 5.30pm. Pre-ordered DVDs can be collected from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.

Official Launch of Piala Dollah Kassim 2011…

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

The coveted trophy…

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

The launch was hosted by Rosley Jimaen and Deanna Manto

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

Cikgu Yusnor Ef with the opening speech…

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

Uncle Dollah‘s son, Ezaad, urged all players to check their fitness and health before taking onto the pitch so as to prevent a similar occurence of wh