Launch of Dunia Sinema Channel

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I’ve gotta admit, I’ve had a nice three week break since the last entry. I’ve managed to catch up on a lot of me time, with family and friends. So much so that laziness had crept in and I was beginning to delay this particular entry that I’m about to embark on. I think two weeks since the event launch of the Dunia Sinema channel on Starhub TV is long enough and I cannot delay any longer since Pesta Perdana 12 is just less than a fortnight away. Speaking of Pesta Perdana 12, I will be posting an entry on the nomination list pretty soon, but I’m sure some of you might already known or have seen it on your respective social media accounts. Hand to heart I have not been keeping myself abreast and don’t even know who is nominated in which category, which shows how much I have switched myself off from the local entertainment scene since the Ratu competition ended.

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Ms. Sandie Lee and Major (Hon) David Teo officially launched the Dunia Sinema channel…

Touching on the topic of Ratu, well the launch of the Dunia Sinema channel held at Fairmont Hotel on 2nd February 2013 felt like a reunion of sorts all over again, as at least ten of the contestants attended the event hosted by Metrowealth International Group (MIG). Familiar up-and-coming local actors and actresses like Erwin Shah Dawson, Lydia Izzati, Atikah Suhaime and Erni Aidil also graced the occasion with their presence. Even radio personality Hafeez Glamour, came to support the launch. Prior to the event, a closed-door auditioning session was being held next door to the event venue. It was the perfect opportunity for the Ratu contestants and our up-and-coming acts to show their potential and perhaps be the next face to be featured by MIG in their upcoming productions, be it on the silver screens or for television viewing. At a time where some bigwig in the scene across the Causeway is making all the negative noises about welcoming acts from outside their country, MIG should be applauded for welcoming them with open arms.

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The Ratu contestants with Hafeez Glamour and Major (Hon) David Teo

Anyway, back to the topic of the Dunia Sinema channel. MIG has been entrusted to manage the newly-launched channel, where there is a collection of Malay films produced by them and can be viewed through this collaboration with Starhub TV. The high demand for Malay films in Singapore in recent years, convinced Starhub and MIG to create this channel. This collaboration hopes to trigger a new history in the world of broadcasting, in turn further strengthening bilateral relations between Singapore and Malaysia, particularly in the field of publishing. Subscribers to the channel (Channel 120) can enjoy watching ten films of different genres every month at a flat rate of S$8.56 per month. The launch of the Dunia Sinema channel was inaugurated by Major (Hon) David Teo, CEO of MIG and Ms. Sandie Lee, Vice President for Content Services, Starhub TV.

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Review…

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I purposely post this entry a week after the competition series ended for the fact that I do not foresee much entries that I will be making between now and March, so a little breather is more than welcome. Afterall, I have been quite diligent with my weekly reviews over the course of the competition. I know most of you who are not linked to me via social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram would not see the photographs I snapped, unless you follow the contestants themselves. So fret not, because this penultimate review on Mediacorp Suria‘s inaugural beauty-cum-talent search competition will have hundreds of them featured, even more than what I normally upload for your viewing pleasure. So where do I begin??? With the choice of the winner, Fatin Amira, of course!!!

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Like the first episode, Sezairi Sezali opened the show, this time performing Dato’ Sheila Majid‘s “Ratu“…

Fatin‘s coronation as the first winner of Ratu was in truth, no surprise to yours truly, and I’m sure to regular viewers of the series as well. She has been very consistent since Episode 4, has a very strong grasp and understanding of the Malay language, confident, composed and dare I say, a certain air of nonchalance which sets her apart from her fellow competitors. I did not say explicitly who were my favourites to win but along with Wida Alisa, both of them were my personal two choices to win the competition, with no disrespect to the other finalists, even though physical beauty-wise, the others had the edge. It was a matter of who was to blink or make that odd mistake that would sway the odds against their favour. I did say in my preview of the Grand Finals, the one who would win would be the one who maintained their poise and composure and not be let down by small mistakes and this was true, as Fatin aced almost every segment that night.

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Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff‘s onstage chemistry was one of the plus points of the competition series…

I saw several comments online from sour grapes who questioned the choice of anointing Fatin as the winner as she is not as pretty as some of her fellow contestants. The aim of this competition was not merely to choose who is the most good-looking or who is the most popular. The aim was to choose an all-round winner, someone who is not only good-looking but a person of holistic substance. She has to be intelligent and media savvy, confident in the way she carries herself and have a certain degree of raw potential that could be polished in time to come as a television personality in hosting or acting. In Fatin Amira, I have no doubt that she was the right choice by the judges who carried the heavy responsibility of choosing a winner who could be someone we can be proud of in time to come – a beauty with brains. Above all, I am convinced that Fatin is ready to face the media across the Causeway, whom we all know are more harsh than our own and will always be ready to find faults and not give an inch, what more a yard.

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The Top 6 Finalists!!!

Why I said I am convinced, is how consistent and calm she has been at answering questions throughout the competition. Even when she was interviewed by Hafeez Glamour in his Go Glam radio programme the day after her win, she answered several difficult questions with ease, even those questions that were posed to her fellow finalists during the Grand Finals itself. When she appeared a second time during Dzar Ismail and Nity Baizura‘s Personality Zoom segment last Friday, I posed a challenging question on how she would react if the President of Seniman were to question her credibility and presence in their scene. Her answer suitably impressed me, saying that she is new and will no doubt learn from the people she is working with to improve on her flaws. Opportunities are also available everywhere for people to work and add value to a certain industry, no matter which country they are working at. She ended by saying that people should just widen their mentality and not be hampered by selfish interests. No doubt she is ready and feisty, willing to face the challenges in store.

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The panel of judges sharing a laugh when Aaron Aziz (hidden) made his point across…

I will not put down Wida Alisa for her gaffe that night. I think enough of criticisms online have been hurled at her and I am sure she did not mean what she said on purpose. We all make mistakes, it was just unfortunate that such an error was made on live television, under such pressure-cooker situations. Most of those who have hurled their criticisms are the same people who will equally freeze or make mistakes themselves if they swapped shoes with her. It is not easy to look pretty and answer random questions thrown at you. What more to translate in Malay when we think daily in English. Likewise there was not much wrong with Wan Anisah‘s final answers, other than the fact that it did not resonate with our community and culture. The prerogative was hers to answer as best she could and one that suited her personal interests and personality. No one should put her down for her honesty, at least she did not lie her way just to score points with the judges.

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The suave Awi Rafael performing “Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta“, his second hit single after “Pulanglah“…

It was also good that the finalists were put through a short acting segment to suss their potential in this particular area, since they will after all, go on to star in a movie produced by Metrowealth International Group. They are raw as evident from their voice intonation and static delivery, having no prior background before this, hence one cannot expect a flawless performance. Even most new actors and actresses in Malaysian movies have been panned as wooden before, but they built on the opportunities given to them and improved over the years. Likewise the same can be expected from our Top 3, with Fatin Amira and Wan Anisah the better performers that night in the acting skit they were involved in. Even though the camera was not focused on them, what impressed me was they kept the scene flowing with their facial and body expressions. For that, we have to thank the likes of Mastura Ahmad, Zaidi Ibrahim and Seriwahyuni Jaes for imparting useful acting knowledge to the girls.

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Fatin Amira, the deserving winner of Ratu!!!

Ratu has been a relative success in my opinion, no matter what the critics might say. Critics are always willing to give their piece of mind at anything and everything, but almost always failing to give substantial alternatives and suggestions on how to better the show. This is the first of its kind which Mediacorp Suria has embarked upon, and naturally, glitches are to be expected. Definitely the producers will do a review on how they can better the next edition or if there is another one of its kind, but for the males instead. This is a new venture on uncharted waters, which no matter the storm they faced, at the end of the day, the ship still reached its harbour safe and sound, if I were to put it in such analogy. The opportunity and experience given to up-and-coming beauties was definitely enriching for all the contestants and I am sure they came out better and confident ladies. This was evident in their catwalk during the Grand Finals. Oh how beautiful all sixteen of them looked, especially the opening segment and one wondered why were they not dolled up like that since the first episode???

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Group photo of the contestants, judges, hosts and guests-of-honour after the show ended…

It has been fun covering the competition over 61 days, from the time the media conference was called to introduce the sixteen of them, right down to the Grand Finals. I gained sixteen new friends as a result, all charming and sweet ladies and I wish nothing but the best to all of them on their subsequent endeavours henceforth. If they still harbour hopes on entering the entertainment industry, then I suggest that they sign up with the various local performing arts / theatre groups to hone their craft, learn the ropes from experienced hands and come back for another shot when another reality competition comes around. It does not have to be in acting, because I know some have talents in dance or having the voice for hosting. Do not limit themselves to just acting because with their respective strengths, they can expand and try viable alternative avenues. Anything is possible. To Fatin Amira, congratulations once again on being crowned the first ever winner of Ratu in Mediacorp Suria‘s history!!! I do look forward to seeing her grace our television and silver screens very soon!!!

Ratu Episod Three Recap…

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This past Tuesday 11 December 2012, the third episode of Ratu aired live on our television screens with the theme of the week being “Sports“. A slight change in judging personnel was made with Hafeez Glamour away in Taiwan on a working-cum-leisure trip with some of his ardent radio listeners. In his place was Hanis Hussey, the guest judge of the first episode. Joining Hanis and Nuraliza Osman on the panel was Muhammad Yusoff Shah Khamaruddin, former national Silat exponent and also a one-time info-ed host on Suria. As opposed to the previous week’s episode where the contestants were put through challenges relating to Malay Culture (making traditional Malay Kuih and performing a simple Malay dance routine), the challenges this past week were aimed at testing the girls on their physical capabilities, to see how they adapt at being rugged to balance their demure and prim image.

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I have to apologise to the girls cos I believe some of them saw me giggling away when they were up on stage in their Silat outfits, which were sponsored by Sports Silat Academy. I was not laughing at their respective moves, but more to how they wore their outfits. Some had tied their belts slightly above their stomachs and it looked quite amusing, at least to me. Kind of reminded me of Obelix, the rotund character in the Asterix cartoon series. Ok I know I’m being slightly mean here, but that’s besides the point. I observed some were rushing through their motions and their facial expressions gave away the fact that they were calculating their steps, while some others were looking down all the time. The ones who impressed me in this segment were Nur Aqilah Kamaruddin (Aqilah) and especially Tiara Atyra. The movements they made were a combination of grace and vigour. It was the perfect balance so to speak. But I just wonder why did some have simpler routines, and others had more difficult ones???

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I cannot comment much on the futsal segment as it was done outdoors and did not show a full account on how each of them fared other than the fact that Risliani won the Ratu-of-the-match award. My only complaint for this segment was some of the girls looked like they lacked enough sleep the previous night, with tired eyes and all, with some looking battered even before the game began. It didn’t exactly look flattering on them. As for the question-and-answer segments, I noticed there were a lot of similarities and overlapping of answers from one contestant to another. What could set them apart in this case and for future episodes are probably their confidence factor and how well they deliver their speech. I noted improvements being made by Jannah Jakasha and Surya Rahmanty as compared to the previous week. Confidence was just oozing out of the former while a bit of research was evident in the latter’s answer.

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Two eliminations were made by the end of Episode Three. I was kinda shocked to know that Sheril Izzyana whom I had earmarked as a potential dark horse of the competition, was the second to be eliminated along with Natasha Tan. It was a bit of a shocker, as I was generally impressed by her showings the previous week and thought she did not do too shabby this week either. Maybe it was the Silat segment that brought down her points, we will never know. Cynics of Natasha Tan on the other hand, might criticise her for her lack of proficiency in the Malay language, but I did observe that she did try her utmost best to find the right words to say throughout the competition, even if that eventually contributed to her elimination. Her over-eagerness could have also betrayed her poise during the Q&A segment. By the way, I will not reveal who my personal favourites are or who I think can progress further as I do not have a definitive list in mind, other than whoever that I mentioned as potentially good, is reflective of their individual showings week by week.

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Eiss was the guest artiste of the week…

So what’s next for the eliminated contestants so far? I cannot give a definite insight on the two earlier ones, Ziza and Diana, as their elimination was too early for me to learn their respective strengths. In Natasha Tan, I observed that she has an infectious and bubbly personality and off-camera, she is the livewire amongst the girls. If she harbours enough interest in the scene, then maybe what she can do is polish up on her language proficiency and join any performing arts company that can hone her interest. She would actually make a good host for a children-related programme due to her personality and energy, and I mean no disrespect when I say this.  In Sheril‘s case, I noted in my last recap that she has a voice suited for radio, television hosting and even news-reading. She can also train up on hosting skills and give it a shot if there are future auditions or openings for those positions I just mentioned. It is definitely not the end of their journey once they are eliminated, provided they still have the passion for it. A fine example I can give is RIA 89.7FM‘s Dzar Ismail, whose potential was discovered when he joined Anugerah Skrin 2010 but was eliminated halfway through the competition.

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On the social media front, I have been a silent observer of some of the photographs that the contestants have uploaded in their respective accounts and read some of the comments made by their friends, family members and supporters. While freedom of speech is welcomed, there should also be a certain amount of tact and respect observed. I saw some unnecessary criticisms made towards the other contestants and though I do not wish to repeat what were said or who said them, I just hope that such comments will not affect the friendship and sisterhood that has been forged amongst the girls. It would be a huge pity that their friendship becomes strained just because some of their supporters / loved ones leave hurtful comments towards the others and in turn might breed hidden contempt and dissent amongst the rest. No doubt it is a competition, but it should not turn out to be negative in any aspects. The bond that the contestants share from my month-long observation of them is a positive one. Let’s keep it that way!!!

Ratu Episode Two Recap…

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This is a very belated entry on last week’s second episode of Ratu. And since it is so close to the third one happening later today, I guess I’ll keep it short cos for those of you who had missed out on watching the show, you may catch-up via the XinMSN site. Last week’s episode saw the first two eliminations being made. The competition bade farewell to Nura’zizah Ibrahim (Ziza) and Fadiana Zulkifli (Diana). So what do I make of their culling??? That night, I felt it was a bit harsh, especially to Diana, whom I personally feel has one of the most endearing and sincere smiles. But smiles alone cannot save them from being eliminated. The one that sealed her fate was probably the time when she stuttered during the Q&A session. And perhaps her posture and body language, which the judges might have penalised her for, cos I can’t help but notice it since the very first episode. It is however, not all grim for her, as I believe she is currently leading the standings for the Ratu Popular subsidiary award, which is voted by the viewers.

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Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff…

As for Ziza, it was difficult to point out where she went wrong. Maybe it was the dance segment that pulled her marks down. But then again, most of the girls are not natural dancers to begin with, save for some with prior experience like Nur Aqilah Kamaruddin (Aqilah). I just hope that Ziza‘s elimination had nothing to do with the possibly limited roles she can play in future, just because she is donning the Hijab and even though it is I have to admit, kinda odd to see someone donning the Hijab performing a dance routine, but there have been known Hijab-wearing ladies who have performed dance routines / Dikir Barat performances before this. I would like to hear the judges explaining the reasons behind each elimination made, to point out where the contestants have gone wrong and how the rest who are left, can learn from it. But maybe this is done off-camera. Again all is not lost for Ziza and whoever is eliminated henceforth, as they also qualify for the other subsidiary awards to be handed out during the Grand Finals, either by fan votes (Ratu Popular) or by the judges.

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The judges – Nuraliza Osman, Hafeez Glamour and Madam Som Said

The Q&A session was a good way for the girls to open up and “sell themselves” to the judges, as well as warm themselves to the audience and viewers at home. I admit after hearing them speak, in general I felt that most of their comments were scripted and memorised, but for first timers, I thought most of them did alright in terms of sharing their personal experiences. They just need to learn how to come across as natural as possible and this I must stress upon, cannot be done and perfected overnight. Some did go a bit off-topic but I guess they were trying to find a variation to how they answered the questions put forth to them, so that none of them would sound similar to one another. Three contestants stood out for me during the Q&A session – Sheril Izzyana, for the tone of her voice (I swear that voice is suited for radio / television hosting / news reading. Close your eyes and listen the next time she speaks, you’ll know what I mean…), Elfiana Ismail (she exuded so much confidence in her delivery) and Wida Alisa (hers was a simple one but had some wit to it and a bit of self-confidence thrown in as well, though I may also add that she did stumble on her words momentarily).

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Some flaws I noticed and wish to share with the contestants so that they can better themselves henceforth. Some of them should try to eliminate the “singing” tune that accompanied their voice projection and delivery of speech. It sounded as though they were either hosting a children’s programme or reading straight from a book. It glaringly highlighted the fact that they were memorising word-for-word, or reading as though they were sitting for an oral exam, when they are supposed to come across as natural. I do note that some of the less-proficient in our mother tongue are trying their utmost to speak the language well, but they need to calm down and not get too overly-excited. Likewise I understand the nervy feeling each of them have when they have to speak to the audience and those at home, but they just have to remain stoic and not let their guard down by showing negative body language and posture.

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The judges I believe, are observing minute details like the one I just mentioned in the last sentence. I guess Hafeez Glamour also had pointed out that they should not be displaying negative traits / uttering comments that could bring down their marks. It is one thing to be honest and true about yourselves, but there are also ways not to highlight what can be generally accepted by the judges as their weakness. Maybe a little tact could have been practised when uttering such comments, for example, “Saya ni bukannya penggemar kuih Melayu sangat…” can be substituted with “Saya jarang dapat menikmati kuih Melayu, melainkan tibanya musim Hari Raya…“. The example I just gave is probably a bad example of a substitute comment I can think of off-the-cuff, but the negative impact on the contestant is lessened somewhat in that aspect. However, I can also counter what Hafeez had mentioned by asking, why did the people behind the editing of those pre-recorded clips highlight those negative portions when they could have edited them out??? Or at least tell the girls that it is not ok to say this or that. It could have been avoided actually or it could have been done so that the judges can remind the girls the dos and don’ts expected of them.

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I wanted to comment on Haizad Imran‘s performance that night, but I guess I just don’t have the heart to. The audience in the theatre as well as those watching at home would have noted that his performance during the second song item he performed, singing Dato’ M. Nasir‘s “Juwita Citra Terindah“, was to sum it up in a nutshell, an absolute disaster. I will not say more nor highlight further as I believe he had his personal good and valid reasons. I feel it is perhaps unfair to comment negatively and harshly, without first speaking to him and finding out what actually contributed to his lacklustre performance that night. But it is a lesson for everyone who is in the entertainment line or who harbours to be in the industry, or even going about our every day life, to do our proper homework and prepare well for the tasks ahead of us. Failing to plan is indeed planning to fail. The words cannot be more true. Till the third episode of Ratu

Ratu First Episode Recap

Mediacorp Suria‘s latest brain-child, kicked off this past Tuesday 27 November 2012, with sixteen beauties vying for the coveted title of “Ratu“. For those who are still wondering what is the purpose of this reality competition being held and how it differs from previous ones in search of singers, actors and hosts, well the television station is on the lookout for Malay females who embrace modernity and progressive thinking, while keeping to the essence of Malay culture and traditions. In summary, they are looking for a fresh face who could be groomed to be the new face of the television station. In time to come, she could be prolific in hosting, acting or even singing if she shows the necessary potential to succeed. And of course, with the tie-up with Metrowealth International Group (MIG) from Malaysia, our new face will also be expected to be marketed across the Causeway.

Sezairi Sezali opening the show with “Dara“…

Episode One of Ratu began with our third Singapore Idol, Sezairi Sezali, performing “Dara“, the classic evergreen hit made famous by one of Indonesia‘s R&B kings Harvey Malaiholo. It has to be said that till now at the time of typing this entry, the song has been playing in my head over and over again, simply because Sezairi did the song a lot of justice, through his own interpretation. It was also apt that the song was used to accompany and introduce the sixteen beauties of this competition, who sashayed their way out to the watching live audience and viewers at home, decked in maxi-dresses and styled reminiscent of Greek goddesses you might have watched via period drama series or even films depicting medieval times. I only have one word to describe their outfit: Stunning!!!

The hosts – Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff…

My only complaint for the opening segment was the quick pace that the girls were told to make whilst walking, which prevented me from taking good shots of everyone, most notably Natasha Tan and Jannah Jakasha, whom I failed to capture a single and proper shot of them. I cannot blame them as they were prompted to move fast by the stage choreographer who was seated next to me. Speaking of which, I have to apologise if this entry has mostly bad quality photographs featured, unlike those you have been so used to viewing on this domain. It was my fault that I forgot to set my camera settings properly that night, so a lot of the photographs did not turn out that well. I’m hoping this was a one-off and that future weeks could see a better output and quality from my camera.

The judging panel consisted of Nuraliza Osman, Hafeez Glamour and Hanis Hussey…

The girls were to make a second appearance later on in the show wearing Kebaya outfits which I believe have been tweaked to look modern. They then did a short catwalk on stage when Sezairi came back onstage to introduce to us his new single titled “Sayang“, which has every potential to be a radio hit. But some of the girls’ Kebaya outfits did not resonate much with yours truly as they showed quite a bit more flesh than the eyes could take, as opposed to the first one where all of them looked demure, yet regal. Since this is a show that is supposed to “keep the essence of Malay culture and traditions”, maybe a bit more cloth on them wouldn’t hurt that much. It is already quite disturbing to see armchair critics panning the show as nothing more than a “flesh parade”. But then again, what do I know about fashion???

It is too early to judge or slate the girls and competition on its virgin episode, simply because they were not given the opportunity to speak much other than short one-liners during their first outdoor challenge. Most good and versatile actor-hosts started from scratch, none more evident than the current competition’s resident hosts Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff, who were products of reality competitions themselves in the past. One can only get better through time, some take a few years to bloom, while some just soar the moment they take off. But not everyone is the same. The first challenge where the contestants had to style one another up, was not a good barometer nor enough to judge them on their fashion sense nor their linguistic and intellectual skills. Likewise to judge them on their respective catwalks, as everyone should know, save for a handful who have had modelling experiences prior to joining this competition, the rest have little to zero knowledge. But the mentors and judges did praise them and said they saw improvements since the first time the girls walked into the auditions.

Sezairi introduced the audience to his new single “Sayang”…

I am sure in the weeks to come, the audience and viewers are going to give these girls hell for their proficiency, or perhaps lack-thereof, in speaking the Malay language. Already the other day, I’ve read and seen comments online shooting down the two lady judges for not speaking the language well. Even someone who speaks the language well, like Hafeez Glamour, was not spared either, albeit from a different angle. The girls know what they are in for and they have to learn quickly, seeing how harsh the industry is and with many keyboard warriors speaking their minds on social media like Twitter and Facebook. In the case of Natasha Tan, I heard the other day when eight of the contestants were live on RIA 89.7FM, that she had studied Mandarin all her life and this is a new game for her altogether, a challenge in itself to speak the Malay language. It is good that someone like her is showing the willingness to learn as the competition progresses and likewise I hope all contestants will be given the benefit of doubt the moment they open their mouths to speak.

We cannot deny the fact that living in this age and time, we are constantly thinking in English and at times we struggle to put in proper words / sentence structure in our own mother tongue, myself included. Through their rehearsals and weekly challenges at outdoor locations, I believe the girls would have some idea on what kind of questions will be asked. They might take a moment to jot them down or make mental notes, and if they dunno the meaning of the words, they can quickly Google the meanings or counter-check with one another. It’s all about self-initiative. I know Major David Teo said during the media conference that it is ok if they are not able to speak the language well, using Maya Karin as a point of reference when she first started off, but it is also important to be able to be comfortable and at ease speaking formally. Maybe they can have a few English words thrown in, but it should be kept to its absolute minimum. A gentle reminder to the girls, please do not speak with a slang. You will get instant bombardment and definitely turn would-be voters (for the Ratu Popularity title) off. Speak like how you speak the language at home. It does not have to be in Bahasa Baku, but you should also not sound like you have been living in the States since you were born. 😛

The whole auditorium sang the birthday song for Nor Aishah Ahmad (fourth from right) who turned 22 this past Tuesday

Cynics of this blog might wonder why am I changing tunes when in previous reality competitions, I have been very quick to slate the contestants. The answer is simple and one I share with the judging panel. It is only the first episode, I do not see the need to go on an all-out assault on their fashion sense, linguistic and intellectual skills. At least not yet (You have been forewarned, girls… :)). In the case of Anugerah and Anugerah Skrin, it’s either you have it or you don’t, and if you were to sing off-key or pitchy for example, then it is a no-brainer to call a spade, a spade. I do however need to reiterate a call I made in my media conference entry. I beseech (this is quite the “in” word after the first episode :P) the team of make-up artistes and stylists to do some justice to the girls in terms of their make-up and hair done. Some of them either had too much powder / make-up on their faces or their hair was not done to suit their age / outlook. I might not know much about dolling up nor styling, but at least make them look like rightful queens and not bridal models (Am certainly not looking down on bridal models here. Please don’t get me wrong here. Was referring to the kind of make-up…) please. Sometimes less is more, and I don’t mean the outfits they wear.

And so the competition has begun, and voting for the “Ratu Popularity” title is opened over at Mediacorp Suria‘s Facebook page. You can cast your vote on who you feel should be rightfully awarded as the most popular “Ratu“. Closing date will be on the day of the Grand Finals itself on 15 January 2013. Before I end, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the eight contestants (Nur Aqilah, Ayura, Natasha Tan, Fadiana Zulkifli, Jannah Jakasha, Elfiana Ismail, Fatin Amira & Nor Aishah Ahmad) who had gone live on RIA 89.7FM this past Tuesday. During their live interview, they stole a few seconds to thank yours truly for my tips and advice which I have dispensed in my previous entry and through Twitter. It was a nice and unexpected gesture and I was certainly caught off-guard. But if it was meant to sweeten my future entries on the competition, hahaha we will cross the bridge when the time comes. I have to be professional in my approach and show no special favours, yet at the same time I will try to understand the difficulties that they go through when assessing and commenting on their subsequent appearances…

P.S. An inquisitive question for the production team: Is there a difference between “Ofis” and “Pejabat“???