Thursday, 12 March 2009


I received an SMS from a friend of mine, Amhari Effendi Nasruddin saying his sister in law wanted to interview me for a school project. Thought I’d share this on my blog with everyone cos some of the thoughts I expressed are very current especially in my current “transformasi” mode. Tell me what you all think:

Dear Datin Sri Tiara,

My name is Fatin Farhanah bt Mohd Hanif (Hanah) 21, studying Diploma in Mass Communication in KDU. I was made to understand from Amhari that this is the best way to get an interview since you just came back from overseas and having a hectic schedule.

I feel very honuored to get this interview. Attach is the interview questions for my Feature Story Assignment for "News Writing & Reporting for Print Media" class. My lecturer's name is Rubin Khoo. I think you might know him. He used to write for The Star now he's got his own magazine - August.

I will be absolutely delighted if I can get a photo of you from your reply for my interview and better still if I can meet you at a point just for 30 seconds to have a photo with you - if time permits by Thursday.

My syabas to Datin Sri for a great theatre. Thank you for allowing me to have this interview. I am so proud to have an ex-KDU student at such heights. My best wishes to you.

Thanks heaps & Salam,

1. Datin Sri, you once studied in KDU. Did you enjoy your time studying there and what did you remember most about KDU and the surrounding area?

I liked the fact that it was a potpourri of different cultures at KDU. We had kids from all over the country as well as international students, so it was a nice "world community" feeling back then. I thrive in surroundings like this and every day was an interesting discovery for me!

2. At the time you were in KDU, did you think that you'd be in the theatre world and making it this far?

I was already very ambitious even back then, and had started my first venture as an entrepreneur whilst I was at KDU. I set up one of the first talent casting agencies in Malaysia, and discovered talents like Sofia Jane, Maria Faridah, even Meer Habib, as well as many others, during this time. I was also very active in the concerts and plays and pageants-performing, choreographing, directing, producing... and i would give everything a go for sure. I hadn't any clue it would take me this far but that was where I dreamed my first dreams!

3. You must have had some mixed feelings on the last day of PGL 3 recently. How did you feel exactly the moment the final curtain call of the 3rd season of the PGL the Musical was called?

It was the most painful moment of my life, like having to amputate a part of me! What made it a beautiful and memorable experience for me was the love from the audience who was there that night to join me on my final moment up the mountain, that, I will never forget.

4. How would you describe the development and standard of Performing Arts as a whole in this country?

My honest opinion is that we have a lot to catch up on, compared to our other Asian counterparts. That's a fact we all have to wake up to, and face up to, before we can go any further. I'm really excited by the opportunity presented to me to head Akademi Fantasia in their quest for a "transformation" in season 7 because I have an opportunity to hopefully change the mindset of not only the AF7 students but the thinking of the movers and shakers in the Malaysian entertainment industry and the millions of TV viewers who tune in every night tp watch AF. We need to get out of a "GOOD ENOUGH FOR MALAYSIA" mentality and think of COMPETING WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. This is the only way Malaysia will ever be relevant, for people to take any notice of us. We need to hit like a TIDAL WAVE to make any sort of impact and to tell the world we even exist.

5. What would you advise youngsters or anyone for that matter who has the interest and passion for Performing Arts?

Always start with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal! I set very high, almost ridiculous goals for myself every time I venture into something new, and people who work with me know this. Its the only way you can ever achieve something beyond what's available in the market, and way beyond anything you would have been able to achieve in the past. We have to get OUT of a "mediocre" mode - like the Malay saying goes, "Mati Segan, Hidup Tak Mahu". We can't afford to be an "also ran" in any competition - Malaysia must start to be recognised for producing ICONS - we need more Lee Chong Weis and Nicol Davids so people KNOW that Malaysia is a force to be reckoned with and we're here to play, and here to stay. Your mantra should be, stop at nothing to make that goal happen. Once you're there, keep working hard to continuously stay on top of your game, stay relevant, current, stay determined and most of all, stay focused.

6. Datin Sri, you seem to have reached milestones that very very few have achieved. Nevertheless, where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I hope to have set up a Performing Arts Academy of my own, where all the best talents and icons in our country will graduate from. My graduates will be industry leaders, movers and shakers, and will make waves on the world stage. How's that for a hairy scary goal?

7. I understand that you lead a very positive and balanced life. What are your latest indulgences and hobby during your free time?

I spend a lot of my free time with my kids, and we discuss everything from how to make paper guns to the latest transformers to the latest pop songs and movies. We travel a lot together, watch movies, paint, indulge in sports like tennis, horse-riding, golf, cycling. I learn so much about life through the innocent eyes and hearts of my kids.

8. You come from a background of experiencing various cultures. What's your favourite food and how does this relate to your cafe in Sunway?

well, I think I AM one of the best living examples of someone whose own BACKGROUND is a mixture of various cultures, so my list of favorite food probably reflects this - from Laksa Sarawak to Laksam to Chilli Crabs to a Nyonya dish caled Joo Hoo Char... The first thing i did when i set up BORNEO RAINFOREST @ SUNWAY is to make sure I could share all my favorite dishes with everyone. Everyone else who loves yummy food and want to have a good time in a fun, relaxed surrounding, that is. Good food, good live music, under the stars... how's that for a sell? Ha Ha.

9. As a very busy person, you must have a favourite location to chill. Where do you think is the best hang out place?

What would you think my answer would be? Ha ha. When I want to relax and "let my hair down", I love watching the live band pay at Borneo Rainforest. Nothing like live music to lift your spirits. That's my idea of a great chill out.

10. Many people say that you have brought theatre to new heights and some already say you are an icon. If you could say anything, to anyone out there, what would it be?

It's never easy trying to be the one to raise the bar in any industry, you will face resistance from people who are used to doing things a cerain way for donkeys years, as well as the skeptics who watch from the stands and make all sorts of very senseless comments, people who and have never spent a day on the field themselves. But I've learnt that hard work and dedication pays off, and I've learned that things can only change if you have strong leadership and if you have a definite war-plan and a motivated team. Nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing.


ms hart said...

My Amal told me this one day - "Mummy, I think I change my mind lah. I don't want to go to Lim Kok Wing University lah. I want study at Academy Tiara Jacquelina!";-)

Now I'm going to tell her, Tiara says "Nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing!" *smile

Hugs from all of us at home, as always.

tiara jacquelina said...

awww... thanks for that nice message, Tati. Amal's my hope for the country's future! Pls thank her fpor that lovely card, i took that as well as the yuuuumy fruitcakes and tarts you gave me to Mecca last week. Hope you get lots of berkat for being so thoughtful. I have to warn you cannot afford to eat any more sinful cakes like that now, i'm glad i had that whilst i could, YUUUUMMM!