Thursday, 22 October 2009

Liza Minelli, who inspired the birth of the Kit Kat Klub

You cannot possibly know how I feel tonight. Not unless you, like me, know Liza Minelli, grew up watching her in films like “Cabaret” and memorized all her songs and moves.

I probably never got to talk about this in any interview, but the truth is, Liza was a living legend to me, as a kid growing up in a family of party performers, a kid dreaming of hitting the big lights someday. I knew songs like New York, New York, Hey Big Spender and Cabaret from singing along with my very vivacious aunts and uncles at our many Eu family gatherings. People in our family would get up and sing at the drop of a hat, nobody needed any coaxing or cajoling, in fact you could never tear Uncle Ralph or Auntie Cath away from the microphone, same thing goes for cousin Julie and Uncle Les. And all the Eu children and grandchildren grew up singing Goodnight Irene, Danny Boy, Autumn Leaves, Speedy Gonzales and every single Elvis song on the planet. My uncle Ralph WAS the Malaysian Elvis Presley, for goodness sakes.
Aaaaanyway. Fast forward to early 1990s when I was first struck by Minelli magic in a video of the film Cabaret. I was so mesmerized by Liza’s captivating energy and the way she would draw an audience in with her animatics and her emotion, I watched the film over and over again, maybe 100 times.

I fantasized about someday playing the role of Sally Bowles and performing wit the same kind of zest and confidence, commanding an audience, making them laugh and cry.
I called Pat Ibrahim one day, and told him I wanted to put on a show, a revue, like the show in the film Cabaret. I even named the show The Kit Kat Klub show, inspired by the name of the club the girls sang and danced at, in the film.
We got some of our best looking talent in our book Jacquie Eu Productions, showed them the video of Cabaret, and asked them who was game. Nasha Aziz, Maria Faridah, Sofia Jane, Shada Hamid, Aida Rahim, Yvonne Gabriel were amongst the first to sign on. Gruelling rehearsals followed, and the Kit Kat Klub Show was born.

The Kit Kat Klub Show was the most well-known stage act in KL, performing at annual dinners, the top clubs, product launches and we even landed a 6 month contract performing nightly at Copperfields’ at the Pan Pacific.

The Copperfields’ show was where the show evolved into more of a song, dance and comedy revue, with the inclusion of a stand-up comic/show host and a guest singer or 2, sometimes even a magician, besides the dancers who were also part of the comic skits.

That was our very first taste of stage management and stage production. It’s been a series of ups and downs along the way, getting conned sometimes by unscrupulous partners, not getting paid for performing, shady agents who disappear after an event, but we also made a name for ourselves on TV, being TV3’s favourite feature act for the Juara Lagu and Sinaran finals year after year.

Anyway. We’ve come a long way since then, and the journey has mostly been a fun and adventurous one. The point of this long story as to share with everyone, how IT ALL BEGAN WITH LIZA. That’s Liza with a Z, of course.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

99 things you must do (before you get OLD!) - from my girlfriend Noren

My girlfriend Norenshah Sahari sent me this on my Facebook. I think it's a wonderful thing to have to think about and find time to do. Makes life much more interesting and colorful.

I've finally found the time to go through the list and highlight the things I've done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii and danced on a lava cliff with the roar of the Pacific below.
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain - Gunung Ledang!
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - Javanese Classical Dance
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill to avoid taking the kids to school
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb well, i fed one once
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse in a bucket of water when i was really small, also Halley's comet!
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run in softball and rounders, NOt baseball :(
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language I was halfway thru Italian before I forgot it
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied when I was working hardest for it, ironically
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous outside of Malaysia?
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Enfiniti welcomes our new GM Izan Satrina onboard!

Hi all, it's been a while, I know. Life's been a roller-coaster for the past few months. Signed a joint management agreement with Astro to manage the top 3 winners of Akademi Fantasia 7 (Hafiz, Aril and Akim), gave a Townhall address to the Enfiniti Heads of Department after mapping out our next 2 year plans, gave a motivational talk at the National Women's Convention, yes, its been most eventful to say the least.

I guess it's true that when it rains it will pour. We had been waiting on several things to fall in place for a long time, and it's all falling into place at the same time, which is great, I'm not complaining. You just might not be hearing from me as often once things start moving too fast.

Best thing to happen for Enfiniti is our new General Manager, Izan Satrina, who joins us tomorrow. Izan joined Ten On Ten Pictures 12 years ago doing marketing for events and TV, went off to work in advertising, marketing, branding and tourism, and has come back to the group, 12 years richer in experience. Before joining Enfiniti, Izan was working for the Singapore Tourism Board.

Welcome aboard, Izan!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


My fellow Hokkien Lang, Joe Lee wrote this piece for the Malay Mail. Thanks for the support, Joe...

Joe Lee
Monday, October 5th, 2009 05:12:00

IT’S been on the cards for ages, but the recent official announcement that Enfiniti Productions Sdn Bhd would co-manage the careers of the top three winners of Akademi Fantasia 7 was the confirmation sought by many.

With that, the principal of the seventh season of Akademi Fantasia and also the managing director of Enfiniti, Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina, now has a hand in planning the careers of Mohd Hafiz Mohd Suip, Khairil Azam Pilus and Afiq Hakim Ahmad to aid Astro Entertainment Sdn Bhd (AESB) after the demise of Maestro Talent & Management.

Upon announcement of the joint management, speculation that the trio will be sidetracked and shaped more as talents for TV and film — with their original aim of becoming singers waylaid — were dismissed by the woman behind Puteri Gunung Ledang and P. Ramlee musical theater productions.

“We’re molding them into becoming all-round stars, and teach them the necessary skills,” said Tiara. While her foray into the music industry can be set as fledgling at best, Tiara’s forte in film, TV and theater productions, apart from her talent management abilities are spoken for, if her past achievements are testimony to her sheer tenacity at making it in the business.

Tiara said the talents of the three boys held much promise for their future to become stars and she excitedly added that discussions have been held to map out the career path of the trio in various aspects, including their
branding and direction over the next couple of years.

“Among immediate plans were the extension of polishing their skills from Akademi Fantasia which covers dance, stage performance, acting, styling and vocals, among others.

“Projects planned include TV programmes, albums, music videos, tours and corporate performances, apart
from potential fi lm and stage work.”

Performing workshops, personalised gym training and grooming sessions are already on the cards and the boys can expect to better their acting and performing skills in her company’s annual actors’ boot camp, conducted by stage actor Stephen Rahman-Hughes, choreographer Pat Ibrahim and Tiara herself.

Meanwhile, she also spoke of a detailed career road map and a fresher approach for staying power.20 years, in acting as well as talent management from the days of Jacquie Eu Productions and Kit Kat Klub Entertainment to now Enfiniti Productions Sdn Bhd, the immediate plus in the partnership is the utilisation of the network of manpower and creative resources held by Enfiniti’s sister outfits.

Kit Kat Klub Entertainment, which handles event management, will take on their promotions, while production arm, Ten On Ten Pictures Sdn Bhd, has earmarked several television series to feature the talents.