Sunday, 3 April 2005

Haiya Cik Siti, aahh, saya manyak penat....


“You doing a piece to camera today?” asked Bob in that Yorkshire drawl of his.“Me? Just look at these,” I said pointing to the bags under the eyes. I have more bags than Selfridges and John Lewis put together.

The last time I did a piece to camera was at the sea front of Dover where Malik did his 17 hour feat across the Channel to Calais. (I did ask him whether he had heard of the Eurostar). Malik got his datukship and I got lots of jibes from friends and family who saw a tired looking old Mak Cik signing off by the quiet seafront, the echoes of Malaysia Boleh long gone. I looked more battered then Malik after his swim!

“Why no make up or anything?”, “Why you look fat?”, “Why you wear that dress?”, “Why you look tired?” Why? Why ?Why?

Well, we waited days before the elements would allow Malik to swim, by which time the toing and froing to Dover and the stress of waiting had taken its toll. And when it did happen, it was at 1am when he swam into the darkness. And we only left until we no longer saw the white dot that was his luminous white cap bobbing in the cold water.

It was well after 2 am that I did that piece to camera. No, I didn’t have a make-up artist at my disposal and I didn’t care, cos the news was more about the first Malaysian to swim the Channel. I was only there to tell the folks back home.

Why am I suddenly ranting about Malik’s swim when all Bob asked was about a piece to camera at THE Royal Albert Hall?

Well, I supposed the media frenzy here in London during his historic feat was similar to that of Cik Siti’s visit and her debut at the RAH and the stress and strain just as much.

Unlike Cik Siti’s pre-set date at the prestigous hall, Malik’s plan to conquer the Channel was very much at the mercy of the elements. Rough weather and cancellations led to frayed nerves and lack of sleep – LV under the eyes.

(btw – I must add here, just made a call to Cik Siti who is at this very minute at the lounge of Heathrow leaving for Malaysia. And guess what??? This Kuala Lipis lass has bagged another, not one, not two BUT THREE Augerah Bintang Popular!!! I was summoned to get her reactions.)

OK, where were we before we were rudely interuppted?

I met up with Cik Siti and entourage a day after her arrival and introduced her to the BBC World Service, Indonesian section, whose listeners form a huge portion of her fan base. Rumours has it that when there were demonstrations in the streets of Jakarta against Malaysia, many too were carrying banners professing their undying love for her. So there – music conquers all.

The next few days, she made two appearances at Oriental City and an afternoon at Malaysia Hall, causing quite a frenzy among fans. Macho men pretended not to care, old Mak Ciks considered possibilites of having her as daughter-in-law, and Bob couldn’t get his lens away from her delicious sweet face. I badly needed cut-aways and had to nudge him to train his camera elsewhere too. Such is the effect Cik Siti has on people.

Both sound engineers at the BBC and my editor were mesmerised by her voice.

Can someone so beautiful and talented be so nice and untouched by all these craze around her? She has to shake hands non-stop, sign autographs non stop and still smiles and entertains her fans! Isn’t there a flaw in this creature of near perfection? Well, I can hear someone shout “Her English!” .

True, but I have no problems with that. How often have we heard Italians or Spanish or non English speaking celebs speak a non perfect English. Sometimes, it is even cute to the ears. Give her time, and she will learn. Making fun of her won't help.I believe Latta Mangeskar(sp)performed and spoke in Hindi throughout her concert here. so, Nahi problem!

Kak Teh with cameraman Bob and soundman EdImage hosted by
Anyway, things were building up for the 1st of April. Booked Bob for 1pm to go straight to Albert Hall and catch Cik Siti's interview with the Beeb. But Fazley, ehem, ehem, said the RAH has not given permission for the Malaysian media to be present. So we hung around Malaysia Hall, bought snacks and drinks for the long wait. Then, drove to Albert Hall to meet another crew and we positioned ourselves strategically. One crew at door 6 for arrivals of VIP's and the other at the back of the hall. Both got very good response from Siti die hard fans - the number one being the Sultan of Pahang, who said: She is my number one superstar!
The hall, as expected, was not full. Perhaps only about 2,500 people. We were told 500 seats are usually blocked and reserved by seasonal ticket holders.

A section was filled by fans-cum-sitistalkers, who won sms competition and were flown in by SNP. They caused quite a riot everywhere they went carrying albums, banners and sporting T-shirts with Cik Siti smiling tantalisingly.

We were only allowed to film the first two songs and the last two songs.
Personally, I did not recognise most of the songs as they are new. Am more familiar with Bisikan Asmara, Purnama Merindu and of course Cindai. So, in a way was quite disappointed with the opening, although I must say she looked stunning. The schoolgirl like lass eating chips with me by the roadside café in Holborn was transformed into a princess on stage.

A glittery emcee for the night
Come the joget numbers, you couldn’t get me to sit still and encouraged by Mahadzir Lokman, Image hosted by we were soon registering 6.3 on the Richter Scale. When my niece phoned all the way from Malaysia to ask whether I had behaved myself, of course, I said I did.

The concert was nearly over when Siti started her lengthy tributes from Habib Jewels to Jimmy Choo and work was just starting for us after the enjoyment.

Image hosted by Anak mak
We waited for her at a room reserved for the media, only to be told that fans had blocked the entrance. So, we were moved a few floors up where I met her parents for the first time. I had to congratulate them, especially the mother for bringing up such talented and well behaved children. This is a mother to mother thing.

Image hosted by The timing of the CEO of the RAH couldn’t have been more perfect when he interupted our press conference saying that the RAH would be delighted to invite her back, and added that she has joined a list of famous singers there. Wow – I saw everyone scribbling and circling that as the intro for the story.

After a two hour routine and still she can look like this?Image hosted by
After the press conference, Siti obligingly posed again for us very demanding journos. No signs of stress or even the slightest annoyance or tantrums.

Bob dropped me home at nearly one am and crashed out immediately. For once, my dream did not have Percayalah as background music. I must have been very tired.

Woke up in last night’s clothes just in time to send off a story to a paper and copies to two others, with a message : if I can't make it – translate and adapt!

Was about to jump into waiting taxi when I got a frantic call from editor saying story not attached to email. Spoke through mail box to hubby to resend. In taxi, scribbled script for voice over and reached Camden Lock APTN building just in time for edit. Gordon the editor was also in last night's clothes and looked as tired. He had been on standby the whole night for the Pope to die. Luckily, he waited right after Siti’s solo debut at RAH. The pope, that is, not Gordon, but Gordon was soon refreshed after replaying close up shots of Siti on the monitor. Hey, we have serious work here, Gordon. If I was hoping things would go smoothly, then I was wrong…I had misplaced the most important tape of the press conference. Luckily there’s a backup one from the other crew. Bob phoned up to say, he found it on the floor of his car. Well done and satelite time was in an hour’s time. But as always, between Bob, Gordon and I, we managed to reduce a whole day’s work and two hours magical performance to about three minutes. Once the satelite feed was in process, I thought I could relax until another editor phoned up to have a new angle to the story. Haiyaaaa..

When Cik Siti fulfilled her dreams to sing at the RAH, that’s not the end of the story. She was invited to the Malaysian High Commision for high tea. And remember, Kak Teh was in last night’s clothes. Stopped by at one of many Indian shops along the street, bought a kurta with enough glitters and set off on my way to outshine Cik Siti. Also, I have to convey numerous salams and messages to her. An example is: Tell her, my father says she is his cucu. Another one: If she is not interested in Fazley, tell her I am available..

Oh, Cik Siti,when is the RAH inviting you back?


Anonymous said...

kak teh...

i bet this entry will draw lots of attention from your readers. Honoured to be the 1st one to comment. Read the article in Msian papers.. 30 songs wow... it that true she only sang one english song? Wish she can song more and try some of celine dion's song..hmmm i am not much of her fan but i do respect her as a very 'sopan-santun' & 'teretek-terening' entertainer.

Wish u have a good weekend ahead.. salam to your better-half.

Anonymous said...

opss. typo error.. what I means is 'have a good week ahead'...

is AG were in RAH or just staying home not willing the leave the cats alone?

picture pls

Anonymous said...

hmmm typo error again..

Were AG in RAH or just staying home not willing the leave the cats alone?

atenah said...

KT, hari2 mai jenguk, kut2 kuwar citer cik CT kat sini...

yg ehem2 with fazley tu betul ke? wah kepochi nye sayeee.

nanti tenah mai london, kak teh buat coverage jugak noo, wah terprasan you LOL

seronoknya KT doh rub shoulders with celebrities

pics pls

atiza said...

..and to think that i will be going to her concert this coming friday...yippeee..i can't wait!

pictures please..preferably loads!!

MA said...

Kak Teh,

I wonder why all the ppl are concerned whether or not she can speak (good) English ? Dia Melayu what ?? Just like Celine Dion before she broke into international market - did not speak a word of English. She was French Canadian.

So, Cik Siti will improve many folds in time - English and many others. But I am glad, zapin made it to the stage of the RAH !

Good job, Kak Teh.

Blabarella said...

You said: "Isn’t there a flaw in this creature of near perfection? Well, I can hear someone shout “Her English!" .. True, but I have no problems with that. How often have we heard Italians or Spanish or non English speaking celebs speak a non perfect English. Sometimes, it is even cute to the ears. Give her time, and she will learn. Making fun of her won't help.I believe Latta Mangeskar(sp)performed and spoke in Hindi throughout her concert here. so, Nahi problem!".

I for one, have been guilty of the same crime, lamenting at how she could go so much further if only she could at least make good conversational English. But you've put it so succinctly, that I now eat humble pie.

Well said, Kak Teh, well said.

scrubber said...

kak teh oh kak teh.....even ayam-tak-berkepala also don't move as fast as you. I salut you for your dedication. You rock we youngsters say it. hehehehheh gurau je...*wink*

Kak Teh said...

anonymous, thanks for the numerous tries, and yes i have conveyed yr salam to AG - he asked who kirim salam - I said anonymous.
tenah: nak mai habark awai-awai - nak siap bodyguard and book Bob and live satellite!
atiza: have fun!! i thought u've all had enough of CT pix in the last posting. I do not have good ones of her performance...and had to rely on her photographers and i cant use that.
MA & Blabs: I had the same feelings before over my good friend here who does not speak good english, but at functions that I attend with hem...there were other designers struggling with their speech..but the audience and we accept them. so, yes - even during the press conference she admitted that half way through she gave up on speaking both languages.
naj: hehe..dah sakit badan. really nice to have met you and hope we will meet again.

Lollies said...

and she said ahe had a sore throat. She has come far and she will go far and tak yah tunjuk cleavage pun..

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh, Malaysia Boleh!!!! to you and Siti. Siti lepas concert boleh gak rest kejap kut, kesian dgr Kak Teh nye keje ni. Tapi kan kalau tak de org macam Kak Teh ni mesti lah dah we all semua tertinggal keretapi in news ni. I think even you penat camna pun u still enjoy ur work, that's the most important kan? Well Done again Kak Teh

fokd said...

kak teh

wife i tanya lagu english apa yg CT nyanyi? I told her i tak tau but surely bukan lagu Baba black sheep nanti i tanya kakteh ...

reti tak reti ckp english bukannya kalu pengukur... agreed with u, blab & MA.. lets give her time.. she will improve like other non-english speaking entertainers. We must remember she hailed from Kuala Lipis not from Subang Jaya or PJ where people speak english since toddler age.

Satu lagi, out of curiosity, berapa ramai non-malaysian yg attend her concert mlm tu?


shidah said...

kak teh: I'm so glad cik ct dah balik. so you can blog again - miss your posting duh! Memang respect la CT tu, susah nak carik artis yang pandai jaga maruah cam dia - but if she make any mistake pun, it just a prove that she is human, betul tak?

Uja said...

hai kakteh...ini pasal lah Uja tak sempat nak update blog...your blog is too engaging!!
dah pinangkan cik siti untuk bang badut kita ke belum?

Kak Teh said...

lollies: sikit cleavage pun tak nampak and you can still make it,kan?
auntyN thanks - tu lah namanya cari makan.

Sk; audience abt 2,500 and she sang Get Here
Shidah: yes, its only human and we can only learn and go forward from our mistakes.
uja: oh uja, uja, ujaaa!
oh nak pinang cik siti untuk badut kita? then they cando double act, kan?

Anonymous said...

kak teh..
i met u in RAH but u probably dont know me...
like ur review..!

Kak Teh said...

anoymous, you should have approached me and called me kak teh and I'd instantly know you as a blogreader or a fellow blogger! next time, ya?

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh

I'm so proud of Siti for her achievement. Though I'm not her fan, I respect her for her wholesome image. In fact I wrote about her in our church bulletin, citing her as an example of a artiste who doesn't conform to industry norms of scanty and provocative dressing, yet is mightily successful. She's such a Sweet Siti.


Anonymous said...

Oops, grammar error... an artiste.


Atok said...

KT, uncle jimmy tak bagi kasut ke CT ke sepasang dua?

Nak kena beli camera barulah tu. or mungkin transmission masa download tu ada problem sikit. try download sekali lagi on different puter, kalau sama... camera kaput.

see you Saturday. ag join?

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hi Kak Teh,
you look positively RAVISHING in that photograph dressed in black!
Looks like Siti's star is shining!
Also, I'm shocked to read on Marlen's blog that your son kene gigit by an alsation. How awful! I once had my finger bitten by a terrier and I can still remember how painful it was! Kasihan, your son...

MassyLassy said...

Ooooii!!! Kak Teh!!! Sah!! I terserempak dgn you aat RAH!!! You & your crew... Kita duduk kat Seat 5 Row G & nampak you! kak Teh tak bawak Media pass so this Mat Saleh cakap, you can be anybody from Malaysia then jeng! jeng! Abang Roslan kita come to your rescue!!! Mas try jugak nak ambik gambar abg Roslan tapi dapat sikit ajer!!! I was outside the RAH & I saw you - kita kira xchange senyum gituk... Best betullah concert dia tu!!! Malangnya I couldn't go to the Malaysia Hall/Oriental coz kerja & dapat cuti Friday jer, so pergi concert jer pun jadik lah!!! Anyway, I love your reports & pictures!!! Ada jugak Mas tangkap gambar Siti in concert tapi tak berapa clear macam your pixs! Tapi kalau you nak tengok bolehlah... Thanks for all your report!!! Best baca your blogspot!! So inspiring!!! Kalau bila-bila you nak datang West Yorkshire or Skipton ker hubungilah Mas!!! I can take you jalan2 kat sini... okay???!!! My email:

Kampong_Boy said...

still kak teh one of her song freaks me out....

Kak Teh said...

Lydia, I couldn't agree with you more. Inspite of success - so humble! a very rare combination indeed.
Atok: mesti punya. Sebab tu bagi penghargaan.
Susan: ravishing..? thanks. Ya, abt the dog..Luckily he got over the trauma.
ms Bizwack, i remembr that! and I remember smiling at someone. No, actually, i had my media pass with me. But he wanted my press card - which I didn't have. And of course Roslan Aziz came to my rescue...and he didn;t need anymore confirmation. I do not have great pictures of the show cos i was far, but have loads when we met her after that. I will certainly goto yr site. Thanks...yes, and will take up offer to go to West Yorkshire jugak...jadi tamu Mas, eh?
budakkampong...lagu apa tu? kak teh dah lupa.

Ruby M. said...

i sukeeee dia... i dont have any of her albums, but i realllllyy love this girl. notice how many new singers after her adopted the glamourous 'siti' name infront of theirs too. she is the living prove that by NOT REVEALING anything, you can still win the hearts of people. i suka her joget songs especially Hati Kama.. hehehe.. wait wait..i heard fazley? sapa fazley? loyar? majistret? doktor?

Kak Teh said...

maknenek: majistret, lawyar?? haaaa....anak wayang? pantahaaang aku!! heheh... I wish you were here at the concert like the one we enjoyed together - Bollywood Dreams!

Anonymous said...

Aiyo Kakteh, my fingers cannot tahanlah.. mesti nak leave comment jugak. Anyway, makanlah Thai sing banyak-banyak.. pasti bertenaga semula !!

you-know-me-lah :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Kak Teh said...

hha anon, I know you lah!!! Will buy some Thai Sing before u come, okay?
and the other anon: thanks for testing for me..SC
delinn: Thanks for the smile.

Anonymous said...

hai, kak teh...oopss..assalamualaikum..
baru baca review k.teh. bagus dan tiada unsur2 dengki mcm review yg pernah saya baca di malaysia (ada segelintirnya). dan kalau nak tau..konsert siti ni pun dah diperlekehkan di TV..takyah sebutlah. pastinya tv swasta. tv kerajaan jarang perlekeh bangsa sendiri kecuali jika ada agenda politik tersendiri. Depa kata gagal sebab takde byk mat saleh yang tengok, dewan tak penuh, pi sana sebab nak bulan madu dan hanya nak naikkan nama sendiri. sedihkan kak teh bangsa kita masih memandang bangsa sendiri seperti second class.
apa salahnya beri semangat sikit walau pun diri membenci..utk bangsa sendiri jugak. itulah, dunia hiburan kita takkan ke mana...nak lepas indonesia pun payah , apa lagi antarabangsa. sebabnya...terlalu dengki dan suka perlekeh usaha orang lain. saya akan selalu lawat laman ni dan berharap kak teh selalulah menulis benda2 yang dapat menaikkan semangat semua. Berharap suatu hari nanti saya dapat menyambung pelajaran di UK. Bye..wassalam.
harap k.teh sudi menyambut salam dari saya di malaysia.

Kak Teh said...

anonymus, kak teh ucap terima kasih kerana melawat. Kak teh sebagai orang lama di negara orang akan selalu mengalu2kan apa saja usaha bangsa sendiri untuk menaikkan nama kita. Bukannya dibuat dengan cara tidak betul. Dan Siti memang telah mencapai hasratnya...mungkin sekarang tak ramai orang Inggeris - tapi namanya kini dikenali pihak-pihak tertentu. Dan sudahkan diundang kembali oleh RAH.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum kak teh...

hurm, nmpknya terlalu lambat saya baca post ini... hehe, tiba2 berminat nak cari cerita2 pasal ct balik... n after that i found ur blog!! frankly say, after seeing you on CT's RAH vcd, i adore you much... cos, i can see that u give ur comments with all of ur heart n not being bias or emotional... for that i salute you...

Siti Nurhaliza... wut can i say... minat dia dari mula lagi, Jerat Percintaan... igt lagi time sparuh akhir juara lagu 96, dia merelakan dirinya dibelit kain oleh penari2nya utk menjayakan persembahan... dan pada saya yg umur 10 tahun masa tu, terpikat... nyata saya minat pada dia tak sia2... kejayaannya atas usaha dia memberi sumber inspirasi... kadangkala bila tensen, amik lagu ct buat head banging (hehe) then i realised my efforts are way to far from hers... so smangat dtg blik...

hehe, dh mula merepek pula... neway, thanks for the review... i think tis blog will be a blog that i will visit oftenly... keep ur good work!!!