Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Al Fatihah & Takziah - Latif Ibrahim

There are times when it saddens me to write a blog post. This is one of them. 

It has been just a year since Veronica Ng and I interviewed 70’s legend Abdul Latif Ibrahim at Istana Budaya, on the set of the musical Terima Kasih Cinta. His death at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur on Monday of a heart attack due to complications from diabetes and pneumonia is a huge loss for the local entertainment industry.

His sister, singer Datuk Khatijah Ibrahim said he passed away at 6.10pm surrounded by his family, including his wife Masriah Mahadan, 57, and their two children Mohd Hazriq, 35, and Haznally, 34.

Apart from singing, Latif also acted in 15 films, including "Hapuslah Air Mata Mu" in 1976, "Dendang Perantau" (1979), "Sumber Ilhamku" (1979), "Bintang Pujaan" (1981) and "Senja Merah" (1982). His last film was 4 Madu directed by A. Razak Mohaideen which was screened in 2010.

Latif hails from Alor Gajah and rose to fame in the 1970s, best known for his romantic pop songs such as Hati Yang Belum Bebas, Mengenang Dikau Kembali, Nora, Mengharap Kasihmu, Mengenang Dikau Kembali as well as Di Bawah Satu Bendera.

In his heyday Latif made quite an impression on his female fans with his rugged good looks and was often compared to Puerto Rican star Erik Estrada of "Chips" fame, to whom he bore a striking resemblance.

His daughter, Haznally Latif, 34, said her father was caring and always took care of the family. In fact during my interview Latif had disclosed that he had opened a small restaurant in Pantai Dalam for his family to run, and was considering making a comeback to the entertainment with his role in the musical Terima Kasih Cinta.

More than 200 people, including veteran artistes, Datuk Aziz Sattar and Datuk Malek Noor attended the burial at the AU4 Muslim Cemetery in Taman Keramat.

Here's our interview with him 


 Rest In Peace, Latif.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Disini Ada Banyak Ayam

Nando's worldwide is always known for their cheeky adverts. These guys have made word play into an art form.

I personally spend hours scouring Youtube for Nando's ads as a pick-me-up during a boring day at work.

Nando's Malaysia has always been rather sedate with their ads, no doubt due to sensitivity of the country's morals and rules. 

However, this did not stop Nando's from taking a sly dig at the KFC fiasco at iCity recently,. where a kitchen hand assaulted a customer.

Smack dab in the centre of Bukit Bintang, at the cross roads of the four busiest streets in Kuala Lumpur, a huge billboard screams "Di sini ada banyak ayam".

Transliterated into English, it seems to innocently announce that "there is plenty of chicken here".

Until one translates that into the national language Bahasa Malaysia and realizes that "ayam" is an euphemism for "prostitute".

The irony here is that Bukit BIntang was (or for that matter still is) the nation's best venue for lonely men sourcing for paid sex, hence the sly tone of ad.

To add salt to the wound, KFC ventured on a double whammy with this newspaper ad:

I would love to hear your comments on this chicken war, dear reader.



Thursday, February 16, 2012

R.I.P, Sudirman

Fans of Sudirman are invited to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his passing at:
Venue: Restoran Puteri in Taman Tun
Time :3:00pm
Date : Saturday 25th Feb

Datanglah ramai ramai. Terima Kasih :-)

A journalist friend from the Star asked Sudirman's Manager Dani'el Dharanee Kannan a couple of questions for their upcoming tribute. I asked Dani'el's permission to share his answers with Spanking readers, as I too am a Sudir and P Ramlee fan. 

You can catch another tribute on tv9 on Saturday 25th Feb at 8:00pm on Apa Saja FBI.

Here are Dan's answers, quoted verbatim: 

I am well, thank you, and also thank you for the opportunity to contribute towards your tribute to commemorate Sudirman's 20th death anniversary. It is my honor and pleasure to share my memories with your esteemed readers. Please forgive me if my answers are long winded, this is a subject that is close to my heart.

1.   What does Sudirman represent in today’s generation of manufactured, fast-food artistes and the "discard-after-use" culture?

Sudirman Arshad was the Number 1 Asian Singer from Malaysia. He was affectionately known as the “Singing Lawyer”, "People's Singer" and also called the "Elvis of Malaysia".

Possessing a clear piercing tenor with a surprising breadth of range and dynamic control especially at the extreme high end, Sudirman's voice was instantly recognizable. His ability to act through his voice is evident from songs such as "Bercanda di Pasiran Pantai", a Latin-flavored duet with Anita Sarawak which displayed the sultry quality of his voice.

While most local singers at that time would resort to pop songs, trust the late Sudirman to do the unprecedented and pick a Broadway song like Cabaret to make his mark, and what a scintillating statement it was. He was the most outstanding Malaysian artist, an international mega-star until sadly, his early demise.

Sudirman was a great Malaysian with a love and respect for multicultural mores, practices and tastes. He would make the effort to sing Chinese, Indian and other ethnic songs, and did them well too. And his performances were always uniquely choreographed. He was even known to have sketched the portrait of a fan while singing. He was not just a singer but an all round entertainer, a quality sadly lacking in today’s young talents.

2.   What did he bring to the entertainment industry that truly drew him apart from the rest?

The year 1989 marked a momentous occasion for Sudirman when he bagged the first and only Best Asian Singer Award at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Sudirman was also the first Malaysian singer to perform at The Paddock at the Hilton of Kuala Lumpur in 1983 and was the singing ambassador for companies such as Proton, Malaysia Airlines and Honda Cup.

In 1986, Sudirman performed a concert in front of 68,000 people along one of Kuala Lumpur's busiest areas in Chow Kit. The Star wrote that "Kuala Lumpur came to a standstill and it had nothing to do with the recession, but with one man, Malaysia's top entertainer, an electrifying performance and most memorable night".

Sudirman always worked hard to take note of his fans expectations and exceed them. 

Unfortunately that didn’t put him in the good book of the bigots.

There was an incident when Sudirman and his (at that time) best singing/performing sidekick Noor Kumalasari were dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes for a performance, but they were harassed by the ultras into not appearing in Chinese traditional wear. Noor was reduced to tears by the brutality of the harassment.

There was another encounter with Muslim fundamentalists at UKM. Aparently the student unions and academic staff, including the then dean of the Islamic faculty, were all against his performing at the Uni. Anonymous threats were made that if he dared to show up for the concert, he would have acid thrown in his face.

The story goes that Ybhg Tun Dr Mahathir, then PM, stepped in to ensure Sudirman performed, because of the bigger picture at stake for Malaysia. Dr M didn’t want the fundamentalists to derail Malaysia’s modernization programs in any way.

3.    How has his legacy endured through the years? Is he as apparent as he should be in the eyes of the Malaysian public today?

Sudirman died of pneumonia on February 22, 1992, in Kuala Lumpur. His last album was "Salam Terakhir". Even today, his songs are popularly played especially during National Day and Aidil Fitri. Two decades after Sudirman's death, his hit songs, such as "31 Ogos, 1957" and "Balik Kampung" are still popular with the masses. How many of today’s artistes will be able to top this achievement?

If he was alive today, he would be 58. Sadly, he died aged just 37. HRH the Sultan of Pahang honoured this son of Pahang posthumously with a Datukship.

4.   Would someone like Sudirman thrive (survive?) in today’s entertainment industry? How? Why?

Sudirman would not only thrive, he would be on top of his game in today’s entertainment scene. He had this unique quality of being multi-talented. His comedy sketches with Yusni Jaafar were genuinely funny.

Sudirman wrote his autobiography Dari Dalam Sudir in addition to penning cartoons and weekly columns for magazines and local newspapers such as Karangkraf publications. One of his books for children was recognized as the best by Mobil-Mabopa, a Mobil Oil book writing competition.

He was also a journalist and columnist, who wrote on various serious issues. Among those he interviewed included the late Tun Ghaffar Baba.

Besides singing and writing, Sudirman also acted in a film called Kami, released in 1982. This film also spawned a track, "Pelangi Petang", which has been heralded as an iconic song by Malaysia's music industry.

Sudirman also successfully hosted Malaysia's TV gameshow "Keluarga Bahagia Singer", sonsored by SINGER Corporation.

Sudirman was also well known for his charity work where he helped invite veteran artists to his shows for generous donations. Charity for mosques and people in need was something he would do willingly. During his life, he had also adopted and brought up an Indian boy from a poor family and he would actively seek charity work through PAPITA.

Sudirman also became Malaysia's first ever successful singer entrepreneur promoting Malaysia's most famous carbonated drink “Sudi” with business magazines and TV programs from Australia to Hong Kong Within six months, Sudi broke five per cent of the carbonated drink market. Later, Sudirman opened a franchise called Sudi Shoppe apparel and a Sudi restaurant.

He was Malaysia's first singer to be on the cover of Malaysian Business and Asian Business magazine. He had an office atop the UBN Shangrila Tower and also in Sri Hartamas. He also served as Vice President of the Singers, Musicians and Composers Association of Malaysia (PAPITA).

Warm regards

Dani’el Dharanee Dharan Kannan

Sunday, February 12, 2012

R.I.P, Whitney

Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel, officials said. She was 48.
The entertainer, whose incredible talent was discovered at an early age, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. (6:55 p.m. ET) at the Beverly Hilton hotel despite resuscitation efforts, a police spokesman said.

Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent" and that the cause of her death is being investigated.

Houston's bodyguard found her body, said Courtney Barnes, publicist for hip-hop artist Ray J, who was dating the pop diva.

According to her official website, Houston sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos. But she also struggled with addiction problems over the years.

Houston, whose hits included "The Greatest Love of All," died on the eve of the 54th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

She had performed as late as Thursday night at a pre-Grammy event in the area. A pre-Grammy party was scheduled Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.

Music producer Jimmy Jam, after conversations with those heading up to Sunday's night show, told CNN that he believes the event will change significantly - including a tribute to the singer.

The entertainer recently returned to a movie set for "Sparkle," a remake of the 1976 hit, which was loosely based on the story of The Supremes. 

It is scheduled be released nationwide in August, according to Sony Pictures. It was her first movie role since 1996's "The Preacher's Wife."
News of her death elicited a flood of reaction from fans and fellow celebrities alike.

Singer Aretha Franklin said, "I just can't talk about it now. It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy (Houston's mother), her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby (Brown)."

Dolly Parton, who wrote "I Will Always Love You," said, "mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, 'Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.'"

Another entertainment legend, Quincy Jones, said he was "absolutely heartbroken" by the news. "She was a true original and a talent beyond compare," he said.

Houston's body of work included a string of Billboard No. 1 hits in the 1980s, including "Saving All My Love for You," "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All," "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)."

Billboard put her soundtrack to the 1992 movie "The Bodyguard" as one of the top 10 biggest-selling albums of all time. She also starred in the film with Kevin Costner. The soundtrack included the hit,"I Will Always Love You."

Whitney Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey.
Famed music producer Clive Davis reportedly spotted Houston 20 years later in a New York nightclub, signing her on the spot, according to her website. Davis steered Houston's career for more than 25 years, also serving as a mentor.

Just Thursday, Davis told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that, with Houston, "I saw a depth and a range and soul ... that rarely ranks at the top level. And that's why we've been working together ever since."
The singer's rendition of the national anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl, days into the first Persian Gulf War, earned raves and cemented her place in the American musical landscape.

After "The Bodyguard," Houston went on to appear in several more films in the 1990s, including "Waiting to Exhale."

In 2000, Houston earned her sixth Grammy for best female R&B performance and, a month later, she was named female artist of the decade at the "Soul Train" Music Awards.

Her career stalled, however, in subsequent years as she entered rehab for addiction problems.

Houston took a hiatus for several years before releasing her first album in seven years, "I Look to You," in 2009.

"I just took a break, which sometimes you have to," said Houston. "You have to know when to slow that train down and kind of just sit back and relax for a minute."

In May 2011, Houston got help for her much-publicized struggle with drugs and alcohol, her representative said at the time.

In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston recalled how her mother arrived one day at her doorstep at her daughter's house with sheriff's officers and a court order in a drug intervention. She talked about doing cocaine and smoking marijuana.

"(My mother) says, 'I have a court (injunction) here,'" Houston said. "Either you do it my way, or we're just not going to do this at all. We are both going to go on TV, and you're going to retire.'"

Houston had a high-profile and tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown, a former "New Edition" star who has had multiple brushes with the law.

The couple appeared together in the mid-2000s on the reality show "Being Bobby Brown." They had one child together, Bobbi Kristina.
Houston was the cousin of Dionne Warwick, another acclaimed performer.

Singer Lionel Richie told CNN that Houston was one of the best.
"She had that voice that could just turn a story, a melody into magical notes," Richie said.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vote Wisely In The Coming GE13

This piece from my fellow blogger Freddie Kevin is just too good not to share. He writes with passion and openly from his heart something that I've been struggling to say. 

Please take note that the synopsis I've reproduced here is not in the original order that he's written it in his blog. There's a link to his original version where you can read his take in full. 


The Government I support has stood every difficult test in time, and to continue doing so, mistakes and excesses of the past and present, must not be allowed to occur and continue.
There is no denying there is a lot to be done and has to be done.
The economy, security, education, homes, environment.
The wealth and health of the nation and it's people must be kept in good hands.
It is now, more than ever, a daunting task.
Datuk Seri Najib is only 3 years into the job and the signs are positive, not all, but at least he focuses on the important issues. He is working very hard. It reminds me of that man.
Of course, in doing so, you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
You may say my Government is corrupt and racist.

At the very least, this "corrupt" and "racist" Government has given us peace and prosperity for as long as I can remember.

As long as I can remember, I could go to church and pray, freely.

I have got my education.

Ever since eligible to vote, I have voted in every election, freely.
click on Freddie's blog header for more