Saturday, September 24, 2005

SELAMAT PAGI MALAYSIA


Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Bendahara Kedah and Tuan Syed Shaharuddin Bin Syed Abdullah, the Honorary Secretary of P-BANK


From left: Shikin, Sheeda', SPM host and Haiza

It's been a fun experience working with my friend in promoting the Dangdut album 'Dang Dang Dut 3'. I've heard one of the unfinished songs by Iwan and it is great. Very refreshing and pleasant to the ears. Just wait and see.

As part of the introduction to this album and to explain how this album is meant for charity of the natural disaster in Kedah State, we have scheduled a few TV programmes for the viewers to be aware on how buying this album would help P-BANK to realised their cause. The album will be launced somewhere in November with a stylish concert by the artists and more promotions will follow later on.

I've been terribly busy with this project for the past one month arranging for the signing ceremony and then the TV programmes. It's been wonderful to be working with my own good friends and the royalties of Kedah. Apart from that, I got to see the side of me that I've never realised exist and I finally got to know what I really want in my career ever since my unemployment. It's not really the money that I want although it is equally important in my life. My income was good enough during the last employment but I chose to resign. It's not really the fame and the glamour such as in the entertainment world although I do love glamour. All I wanted is the satisfaction of seeing a work well done and the recognition that you are one of the best in what you do. Yes that's what I want. I want to be succesful in my career and known for my good work. A serious work that involves the brain not just the looks.

Therefore I've accepted a job offer somewhere in Putrajaya for good. This job will give me the opportunity to test my capability to handle people of all ranks which is fantastic. I am proud to be able to win the trust for this new job because it was a tough competition actually and I managed to get it straightaway with a win-win situation agreement that will satisfy everyone. That's what I called a real deal.

It's sad that I might not be involved with the dangdut project anymore for my new work will take most of my time. It's going to be hard to let go of something you've given so much already and especially letting your friends down. I definitely feel really bad about it already. Anyways, I will try my very best to help to make the project a success in anyway I could. I will give my full support and will promote the album to everyone that I know. Well, words of mouth is equally powerful.

In the mean time, I hope Malaysians will always support our local artists particularly dangdut and Afdlin Shaukin because he's very original and hardworking. This is very important to everyone in the entertainment industry. Give them a chance, ok :)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

DANGDUT IS BACK


Dangdut is one of the genres of music popular in Indonesia and used to be a hit in Malaysia too, once upon a time in the era of Emelina, Iwan and Mas Idayu. It is fusion music with a touch of Hindi elements to it. It could be traditional, pop, or a combination of Latin sounds. It could be anything but Dangdut has a certain distinctive sounds to it that we all could recognise as its own.

Most people relating Dangdut to ‘gelek’ or the movement of the hip but not like the Egyptian style. It’s more rounded with certain degree given to it. Hahaha... it’s amusing that now I am researching things about dangdut for my next project.

What would you say to dangdut genre? Do you love it or do you appose to it? I remember that dangdut has always had this love and hate kind of thing among Malaysian. We have some mixed feelings towards it. Some people do not like dangdut (to the extreme of banning it totally from one particular radio station) because it was said to be a second class music. Why? Well, may be because the negative images connected to it; like it is too sexually performed, risqué lyrics and sexy clothing worn by dangdut artists itself. However, many people still love it because it is very easy to the ears, melodious and relaxing, undeniably makes you want to dance to the tune.

Whatever the opinion of dangdut is, this type of genre can not be denied. It is unique in its on way. It can only be found in two countries that is Malaysia and Indonesia (Hindi songs are different). So we have to give it a fair treatment in our musical industry. It is not right to categorise it as a second class music because there is no such thing as classes in music. Music is universal and it is subjective. We can only judge music when it became a song but not categorising it as inferior or superior. Can you say that jazz is classier than rock? Would you say R&B is superior to Hip Hop? Absolutely not! People will get angry with that kind of statement, believe me. It is incomparable. Each one has its own uniqueness. The same goes to dangdut. We can not put it into classes.

Having said all these now let me explain why I became so interested in dangdut. Hmm….. Surprise everyone. I am now into a project to promote our local once popular dangdut artists’ album for a charity cause. The album is called “Dang Dang Dut 3” to be produced and sung by the legendary Iwan himself, featuring other artists Mas Idayu, Haiza, Shikin, Sheeda’ and Anis (new singer). An MOU has been signed resently between Ewan Entertainment and Persatuan Bencana Alam Negeri Kedah (P-BANK) to raise fund for natural disaster in Kedah State.

I would not want to elaborate on this just yet because it is very new and I am not really in firm decission to be involved. There has been some mix feelings of how I would be able to adjust to all the changes around me. Being an Ox, I am so at a routine, I have too strong a character for people to handle and it goes both ways. Usually I will not be happy to commit myself into any project without knowing clearly all the consequences of my involvement in all areas concerned (fussy isn't it). I will not be able to function smoothly if I didn't get the things cleared beforehand. So may be by next week I will make that important decission to be fair to everyone.

Okay, for the time being, I just want you all to know that, Dangdut is making a comeback no matter what. I am not promoting dangdut personally. I have to admit that I am not a fan to dangdut before this project, but I am willing to give it a try to show my support to our local talents. The time has come for our musical industry to be taken seriously. Give more space to other genres of musics, be more original in our creativity and innovative to the extend that other countries would want to hear to our music not just us listening to them.

Photos above was the signing ceremony at the Hilton Hotel recently. Not all the artists were present, only Iwan, Mas Idayu, Haiza, Sheeda' and Anis. Shikin was absent because of a show in Sarawak. You will hear more about this later on. Till then..... please comment on this.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I AM SAM






Remember the movie ‘I am Sam’? I’ve mentioned it a few times in here because I was impressed with Sean Pean and the little girl, Dakota Fanning plus Michele Pfeiffer; she is one of my favourite leading actress. The genre of the movie is heavy drama about the life of a retarded man called Sam, battling to get the rights of taking care of his daughter. Okay I don’t want to make a review about this movie. I am sure most of you have watched it. It was a fantastic movie if you know how to appreciate it.

Now here is another story of I am Sam. This one is a real one. I know another person by the name of Sam but he’s far from being retarded. No, this one is perfectly normal, tall and handsome; the heartthrob of every woman. However, I was not impressed yesterday.

“Hi Liza” It was Sam as usual. A surprise tone like he’s not expecting me; the moment I rushed in the lounge.

“Hi, Sam. I am here for my replacement class because I missed my class on Wednesday”. I explained to him while still rushing towards the other room, Dance Studio 2 where I always had my class. I was a little bit late. It’s already 3.35 p.m. The class was supposed to start at 3.30 p.m. Being a punctual person, I am so worried to have been late. I don’t even look at Sam. He always says hi to me no matter what.

My instructor was not in the room. I wondered why she’s not there. Then I saw her outside, I heard Sam was calling everybody to move the class to Studio 1. So I was a bit confused. Where were my classmates?

“Aisha, today is my replacement class, right? Do I have to be in Sam’s class? Not yours?” I asked my instructor and she later told me that I have to be in Sam class. She’s not teaching that day.

Oh my God, not in Sam’s class! I feared this guy ever since I joined the studio’s salsa class. We got some unspoken unpleasantness that is hard to justify and yet unsettled but it was already too late to cancel the class, so I went to Studio 1 with heavy heart.

I saw Sam was a bit uncomfortable too. I couldn’t well tune with his instructions because it’s kind of hard to follow a different instructor’s style of teaching. He’s not like Aisha who always patient and understanding. He’s the opposite and uncompromising. I made too many mistakes to his liking; not raising my arms high enough, not holding him correctly, not making a smooth spin (because I didn’t wear the dancing shoes he’s very particular about) and I don’t even remember a thing he’s been teaching me. He gave me all the unspoken signals of annoyance and disparagement. It made me even more scared of him and I made even more mistakes because I could not concentrate and remember the moves he’s teaching.

Oh God. What a day. I saw his mood getting darker by the minutes. Towards the end of the class, he’s really really pissed off and he really showed it to the rest of the class. I don’t know what’s going on with him that day. Was it me or what? I feel so damn pissed myself. I told my instructor that I thanked God he’s not my instructor. He’s so fierce. Aisha told me that he just had one of his bad moods. What! So his class has to bare his mood swings. No way am I going to dance with him again. As much as he is disappointed with the class, I am even more disappointed that he had not given enough effort to understand why the students are lousy that day.

I couldn’t learn a thing from him except that now I know he is after all SAM.

Okay it's time to get that damn shoes for next week's class.

JOE DIRT AND UPTOWN GIRLS

I’ve been watching too much TV lately. It all began with watching the CNN news about Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. Truly it was a horrible catastrophe. My heart goes to all those unfortunate mostly poor black people. They have the world’s prayers with them. We all wish they will be able to rebuild what they have lost.

America being a powerful country of the world, it makes us so humble to even offer our help. If they want it, they will ask it, but they don’t. They could manage with their huge resources and hi-tech equipments unlike when the tsunami hit Asia last Christmas. The only help we, the rest of the world, the developing countries, could offer is our hopes and prayers.

The tragedy of New Orleans will always be remembered to me because it holds fond memories of my favourite novels by Anne Rice. The Chronicles of the Vampire and the Chronicles of the Mayfair Witches. The backgrounds of those books were mostly in New Orleans a city known for its music, traditions and witches (at least in my books). I used to really dream one day to see the city myself. It is sad that it is no longer there to be seen. The old buildings and the places will never be the same if ever I get there or if ever it still exist.

Now back to the TV thing. Switching in between the bad news of the world today, I got stuck with Star World Channel. They were showing ‘Joe Dirt’. A story about an ordinary guy namely Joe Dirt. He’s a janitor at a radio station when one day he got the chance to tell his life story of his quest in searching for his parents whom he had lost in the Grand Canyon when he was only a toddler.

It was hilarious and touching at the same time. There were good messages in the movie such as family, friendship, and love. I watched it with my youngest sister. She loved it to tears. So you better believe me when I said it was a good movie.

I don’t usually watch movies on TV because I like to buy my own copy of DVD or most of the times I’ve already watched it in cinemas. This movie another one that I got stuck with was actually by accident while I was doing my laundry. I saw Brittany Murphy whom my sister got confused with Gwen Steffani. She asked me whether that was Gwen Steffani, the ‘No Doubt’ singer acting in the movie. Then I told her, no, it was not. Then I saw the little girl, Dakota Fanning who used to act superbly in ‘I am Sam’ and recently she appeared beside Tom Cruise in ‘The War of the Worlds’; that was what made me want to watch the movie. I missed the first 30 minutes but it didn’t affect my understanding of the story line.

The story was really touching except for all the scenes with an ugly looking small little petite snorty swine. Eeeee…..!!! Makes me want to puke. How could you take that as a pet? That’s really stupid. Dirty and diseased. I don’t care. I’d rather die than live with a swine. Excuse me, was that racist?

Okay the genre of the movie was the same as ‘Joe Dirt’; i.e. a touching comedy. It was a story about ‘Molly’ a daughter of a famous rock star who had passed away without leaving her much to live with. She then lived with her best friend and worked as a nanny to a rich family. The little girl played by that fantastic child, Dakota Fanning (God I love her acting prowess). She portrayed a strong character, a little child who is matured beyond her 8-year old. She likes ballet and classical music unlike Molly who is her opposite. A grown up with a character of an 8-year old, so they kind of conflicting with each other and their own selves. Superb acting is the word!

What makes the movie really touching was because they hired superb actors who know how to transform boring script into something interesting. Basically, the movie tried to touch issues about life and about growing up when you were from upper class society, the rich and famous. That’s why it was named “Uptown Girls”. A story of hardships of the uptown girls; how they face the difficulties in their lives. Nothing much really but it was worth watching. Surprisingly very touching or may be I was being soft. I don’t know but I really like it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

KERANAMU MALAYSIA


TASIK PUTRAJAYA

Semperna bulan sambutan kemerdekaan, saya rasakan adalah sesuai jika menulis menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia, bahasa kebangsaan kita. Seperti di tahun yang lepas, kali ini juga kita merayakannya selama sebulan bermula dari 17 Ogos yang lepas di Danga Bay, Johor dan akan berakhir pada 16 September di Negeri Kedah.

Kerana Mu Malaysia adalah tema perayaan hari merdeka tahun ini seperti di tahun lepas juga. Saya rasakan ianya amat sesuai kerana itulah yang kebanyakan daripada kita rasakan, iaitu perasaan terima kasih kita kepada Malaysia dan pemimpin-pemimpin terdahulu yang telah membawa negara kita ke tahap ini.

Negara kita tidak mungkin seaman ini sekiranya tiada pergorbanan warga-warga terdahulu, pemimpin-pemimpin yang penuh berwawasan seperti Tunku Abdul Rahman (1957 1970), Tun Abdul Razak (1970-1976), Tun Hussein Onn (1976-981), Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (1981-2003) dan Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Oktober 2003-sekarang). Mereka adalah Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang telah banyak berjasa di dalam membentuk pembangunan Malaysia sehingga ke saat ini. Walau apa pun sumbangan mereka, tidak perlu dibandingkan; ianya sangat tidak ternilai kepada perpaduan, kemakmuran dan keharmonian negara kita.

Bercerita berkenaan dengan keharmonian negara, ada sebuah cerita yang ingin saya kongsikan bersama pembaca sekalian. Baru-baru ini saya telah dijemput untuk menghadiri sebuah majlis rumah terbuka sahabat baik saya, Sue. Saya bercadang untuk membawa buah tangan kerana sebagai orang Melayu yang kaya dengan adat resam dan budi bahasa, kita mestilah beradab apabila ke rumah orang. Saya rasakan paling buruk pun saya ingin bawakan bersama buah-buahan sebagai buah tangan. Masa tidak mengizinkan untuk cenderahati yang lebih ‘fancy’, jadi saya pergi ke pasar raya terdekat iaitu Giant, One Utama (new wing). Di dalam kekalutan untuk mengejar masa, saya tidak berpuas hati dengan hamper sedia ada yang dipamerkan, oleh itu saya mengambil keputusan untuk memilih sendiri buah-buahan yang hendak diberi dan meminta mereka bungkuskan untuk saya.

Wanita yang menjaga counter pada masa itu tidak berapa tahu selok belok membungkus buah-buahan yang saya beli pada ketika itu. Agak kalut juga saya melihat mereka terkedek-kedek mengatur buah-buahan di dalam bekas merah yang tak sesuai sebenarnya, tetapi saya redakan saja sebab sudah kesuntukan masa. Tiba-tiba seorang lelaki cina datang menyapa saya. Rasanya dia adalah supervisor di sana.
Dia berkata "Tak cantiklah buat macam ni. You patutnya tambah buah anggur. Mari ikut saya. Saya boleh buatkan yang cantik untuk you".
Saya agak terkejut dengan pelawaan tersebut. Saya bersetuju yang cara pembungkusan budak perempuan itu tidak sesuai. Saya pun ikut setuju dengan pelawaan lelaki cina tersebut untuk membuatkan bungkusan yang baru untuk saya.

Agak memeranjatkan kerana dia bersusah payah memilih buah-buah baru yang lebih segar untuk saya. Kemudian mengambil sebuah bakul cantik dan seterusnya membungkuskan untuk saya dengan cara yang lebih cantik sebagaimana yang saya gambarkan di kepala semasa membeli buah-buahan tersebut.
Kemudian dia memberikan kepada saya dan berkata "Ha, macam nilah baru sesuai untuk hadiah untuk kawan baik. Lebih presentable."
Saya sangat terharu dan bertanyakan berapakah harga yang perlu saya bayar untuk penat lelah dia menolong saya. Dia menjawab tidak perlu. Dia cuma membantu dengan ikhlas. Saya tanyakan siapakah namanya. Dia memberitahu bahawa namanya ialah Mr. Yap. Saya berjabat tangan dengannya dan mengucapkan terima kasih.

Hanya Tuhan sahaja yang tahu bertapa gembiranya saya pada ketika itu. Saya berjalan ke parking kereta dengan senyuman yang tidak boleh dibuang dari wajah saya. Pasti orang ramai yang melihat merasa hairan. Seorang wanita berbaju kurung warna maroon, membawa sebuah bakul penuh berisi buah-buahan sambil tersenyum. Hahaha.... teringat macam ‘the little red riding hood’. I am truly happy and blessed to live in a harmony country with other races helping one another without seeing the different colours. Itulah makna sebenar kemerdekaan.

Bukan itu sahaja. Sebuah lagi insiden yang agak pelik berlaku sehari selepas itu di mana saya menunggu seorang sahabat untuk makan bersama di sebuah restauran Thai. Tempat tersebut memang agak sukar untuk mendapat tempat meletak kereta, tetapi pada hari itu saya amat bertuah kerana ada tempat kosong. Saya membayar harga tiket parking sebaik sahaja sampai kerana tidka mahu dikompaun seperti kawan saya, Sue tempoh hari.

Setelah menunggu selama hampir setengah jam, tiba-tiba sahabat saya memberitahu bahawa dia tidak jadi datang. Saya merasa amat marah dan geram yang tak terkata. Akhirnya saya terpaksa makan seorang diri. Selera pun dah hilang. Oleh itu saya makan dengan segera dah terus mahu balik ke pejabat secepat yang mungkin. Semasa ke kereta saya terkejut kerana mendapati cermin depan kereta saya ditutupi dengan ‘sun screen’. Saya sangat hairan bagaimana benda tersebut ada di atas kereta saya. Salah letak ke apa? Rupa-rupanya lelaki cina di restauran cina berhadapan kereta saya yang meletakkannya di kereta saya supaya kereta saya tidak kena panas matahari. Lelaki tersebut yang kelihatan agak kemas, pekerja di restauran itu rasanya, terus berlari menanggalkan ‘sun screen’ tersebut untuk saya. Dia terus berlalu tanpa sebarang kata sebelum saya sempat mengucapkan terima kasih. Dia kelihatan amat pemalu. Saya cuma dapat berikan senyuman sebagai tanda penghargaan.

Wah! Sejuk hati saya yang sedang panas ketika itu. I feel blessed again. This is the true Malaysian spirit. Lelaki itu memang dah biasa melihat kereta saya agaknya sebab itulah dia alaskan cermin kereta saya supaya saya tidak perlu memandu di dalam keadaan kereta yang panas ketika itu. I am truly thankful. He made my day no matter what his intention was. Saya tidak kisah kerana dia memang seorang yang baik hati.

Sebenarnya banyak kisah seperti ini yang pernah saya hadapi. Di dalam kehidupan seharian kita, kita tidak dapat mengelak daripada berhubungan dengan bangsa-bangsa lain di Malaysia. Semasa berada di kedia Telekom, sementara menunggu nombor giliran saya, sempat saya melihat kerenah dua orang anak melayu dan anak cina yang berumur sekitar tiga tahun dan dua tahun, sedang bermain-main bersama. Di tangan masing-masing terdapat bendera Malaysia yang ada gula-gula di dalam tempat pemegangnya. Sangat gembira dan tiada prejudis. Itulah sepatutnya, persahabatan antara kaum dan semangat cintakan negara perlu diajar dari peringkat kanak-kanak kerana pada masa tersebut mereka masih lagi putih bersih, tidak mengenal erti perbezaan warna kulit dan bangsa.

Saya sangat seronok berjalan-jalan di Putrajaya di hari Kemerdekaan baru-baru ini. Sempat bergambar sakan dengan Chris dan gambar di ini adalah salah satu daripadanya. Cantik kan :)

MASJID PUTRAJAYA


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My mind says:

  • "I CHOOSE TO LOVE EVERYTHING THAT IS MINE"
  • If it's not you, who else!
  • Love your country. Keep it SAFE & GREEN...