But this time it is different. I got myself into 'trouble' by agreeing to watch AF Finale live at the stadium, after being persuaded by a friend. I thought by seeing that 19 year-old sing his heart out once would be enough, but no, I was totally wrong. His voice un-invitingly followed me home, stuck in my head and emerged in my day-dreams at the office. His debut single “masih jelas” masih jelas kedengaran in my ears.
I felt Saturday night came so quickly, I was still nervous but somehow I was physically prepared, all stuffs packed, my camera, passport etc. I suddenly had the guts to travel to this alien place, all by myself! (my friend had to cancel her flight). I left home very early in the morning as our flight was at 7.10 a.m.. Abang Badrul and some other fans were already there: Rose, Nano, Green, Mikolok, Ckin, Dnaz, Kak Ferror, Kak Aidid, Eleza, Lan etc. Hafiz was not there yet, so we waited patiently. I was thinking of checking in together with his team. But when Abang Bad called Hafiz again, he had just finished checking-in! So I rushed to the check-in counter and bumped into them on my way there. Abang Badrul introduced them to me: Pendos, Sue, Hafiz and Akim. That was the first time I laid my eyes on his ;)
When I got back to McDonalds, the rest of them were busy taking photos. Hafiz and Akim entertained everyone with big smiles and cheeky poses although it was only 5+ a.m.. They then had breakfast, and they borak2 with their fans. We told Hafiz “None of us known or have met each other in person, this is the first time. We only met through the blogs, we chat almost everyday, and today, when we finally gather for the first time, it feels like we have known each other for so long! And it is all because of you, Hafiz!” And he went like “Ye keeeee?? Thanks sangat 2 korang... Hafiz really appreciate it!”.
At around 6.45 am, the 4 of us (Hafiz, Sue, Aunty H and I) said goodbye to everyone as we had to adjourn to the departure hall. Luckily it was only 4 of us, otherwise, lil me would just shy away!
Aunty H is Hafiz's mother's elder sister who lives in Damansara. Aunty H and I only started our conversation while walking to the gate. She mentioned to me that if the flight is not full, lets just sit closer to Hafiz. (Hafiz and Sue had their seats pre-booked by Astro.) And of course, my heart jumped with joy! Hafiz and I talked for a bit while walking from the gate to the plane, about his intention to continue his studies which can only take place 1 year from now, the earliest. When we reached the plane, Hafiz, being a gentleman, said “Ladies first”, and I replied “Thank you!!” with a smile.
After taking-off, I quickly took my bags and moved to a seat next to Aunty H. Hafiz was already in deep sleep - in less than 10 minutes! He must be very very tired. Aunty H and I really talked and got on well. We happen to have similar working experiences and the 1 hour and 45 minutes passed by so fast! Before we touch down to the cultured land of Bumi Kenyalang, Aunty H offered me the best present I could never have imagined. “Kaka, please come with us if we have an extra seat in the MPV”. OMG OMG, am I actually hearing this for real? I could feel my eyes, my nose, my cheeks and my ears SMILE in whatever way they could! YEAYY!!
Hafiz woke up only after the landing announcement was made. He quickly filled up the swine flu form, took a deep breath and got himself ready for his Kuching/Sarawak fans. When we got down from the plane, Hafiz's cousin was already waiting for us. He took us out, but MAN, can you imagine how many pit stops Hafiz had to make for photo sessions with the airport staffs??? He is really a heartthrob to these Sarawakians, and I don't blame them for being excited. I wouldn't miss the opportunity if I were them!
Jimmy of Trek Selebriti and other Astro Crews were already waiting right in front of the gate for Mr. Champion. They started recording Trek Selebriti right away. Abang Har and Kak Wa were there too. It was the second time I met them, the first was during AF Finale at Stadium Putra. I was a bit worried kalau diorang tak ingat i, but to my surprise, my nick, Kaka, was not strange to them! *Phew!* Hafiz was then brought to meet YB Hamden & some state government officials in the VIP lounge. I just followed Aunty H and we passed our documents to Kak Y for checking and clearance.
While all of us were walking away from the VIP lounge, I saw this massive crowd at the arrival hall. I just couldn't believe it! There were sooooo many of them, dari yang kecik hingga yang tua! And the moment they saw Hafiz, they started screaming their lungs out, out loud! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! HAFIZ! Lights from cameras started flashing and they were very excited to finally get a glimpse of the AF contestant they voted for for 10 weeks! Aunty H, Sue and I who were initially queueing behind Hafiz decided to use the other door out, after realising that Hafiz and some other people in front of us could barely move. Sambutan yang sememangnya hangat, sangat hangat!! Well done fans of Hafiz!! We stood outside, a lil further from the crowd, listening to the announcements, kompang etc. And there was also bacaan doa kesyukuran for Hafiz. We couldn't see Hafiz from where we stood, as the big crowd had gathered around Hafiz, Jimmy and the rest. Then, it was time to leave the airport. Aunty H asked me to join her in the MPV. I was extremely excited in the car, I'm going to Hafiz's house you all!! Hafiz's house!!
I thought our van left earlier but when we reached the house, Hafiz and Astro Crews were already there. They were preparing for Trek Selebriti recording at the house. As usual, they had interviews with all the family members and house tour. 1 to 2 hours later, the recording at home completed and all of us had lunch together. Lunch was prepared by Hafiz's family and that was my first Sarawakian meal! White rice, kuah dhal, ikan masin, cili padi, salad, ayam masak kicap (nope, bukan ayam masak coke hehe). It was yummy!
At the house, I was treated reaaaaally well. All his aunties and uncles interviewed me with all sorts of questions. They initially thought that I was working for Astro or any of the presses. Dengan malu2 kucingnya I said, “No lah, I am just a fan of Hafiz...”. And then they replied “And you came all the way from KL??” and I said “Yes... with my hubby's permission of course :)” “So how long are you gonna be here for” “I'm flying back to KL tonight..” “Tonight??? Nooo, you should stay, you should really stay, Hafiz's gonna perform tonight at STC and tomorrow we'll be having more Sarawakian meal for breakfast..” I felt sooo touched. Really touched. Almost all of Hafiz's family members persuaded me to stay, even Hafiz himself asked me to. I almost melted...
Hafiz spent about one hour with his family, signing autographs on their HafizFC shirts, taking pictures with them and entertained them with his “Masih Jelas”. His voice although sounded a lil tired, was undoubtedly AMAZING!. The whole family were really proud of his achievement, I could feel it in their hearts, looking through their eyes, especially Uncle Suip and Aunty Liza. They had big smiles on their faces all day long.
One of Hafiz's cousins, F, wanted to send her friend home and she asked me to come along so that she can show me around. We went to Hafiz's school - St Joseph, passed by Aishah's house, Jasa's resident and Hardy Dahlia. Then we went back to Hafiz's house, continue taking photos with his family. Not long after that, Hafiz came back with Kak Wa, Abg Har and Ariana in a nice convertible Mercedes, courtesy of the Viking Racing Team. I took photos of Hafiz with his family again n again. I could see that Hafiz was so happy to be able to spend time with his family.
Hafiz had a quick rest before getting ready to continue the recording of Trek Selebriti around Kuching. I started touring Hafiz's house and tried to brush up on my photography skills, which I admit is very very bad at the moment. After that, some of Hafiz's aunties, cousins and I just lepak at the house. One of Hafiz's aunties (Kak Wa's mom) asked me “Which part of Hafiz do you like most?” I was startled! Alamak, what should I answer? *Apsal pulak la aunty ni tanya soalan2 camni* All eyes were on mine. *Blushed* His aunty said “Come on.. tell us! tell us!”. I went like “errr... his hair, errrr... and lips... erk”. And Aunty said “Yessss!!! His lips!!! You are right! My late father when he first saw Hafiz after his birth, told all of us that, Hafiz bila besar nanti akan pandai mengaji dan menyanyi!”. Hehehehehe... Hafiz pandai mengaji!! *wink wink to Hafiz's fans!*
At around 3.30 pm, Hafiz's cousin, N, drove me to Hardy Dahlia with her mom and her 2 handsome sons. Hardy Dahlia is a place where Hafiz's family members in Sarawak gathered every saturday night for 10 weeks to watch the weekly concerts. They used a projector to project the live concerts on the wall of a building next to Hardy Dahlia. N told me that the men in the family would normally watch EPL first then switched to AF concerts and then switched back to EPL again. Not long after that, Hafiz reached Hardy Dahlia with the rest of the Astro Crews. Trek Selebriti recording continued from the interview with the owners of Hardy Dahlia to the cake cutting ceremony. A lot of people came to Hardy Dahlia – it is normally close on Sundays, but on that day, it was open for a private function – Hafiz's High-tea!. We were served with mee goreng, kuay teow goreng, kek lapis sarawak, cream caramel (Hafiz's favourite), teh tarik and other local delicacies. Really nice comfort food! (You should make it a point to eat at Hardy Dahlia if you are in Kuching, Kaka tolong promo..). I was busy eating when suddenly I saw Superboy and the Astro Crews walking towards the van. I quickly snapped a few pictures. I didn't know that would be the last time I saw him before leaving for KL :(
I managed to finish my teh tarik (sedappp!!). Then Z and Baby brought me to STC, just to show the place where Hafiz was going to perform that night, before sending me off to the airport. Abg Har, Kak Wa and a few other cousins of Hafiz were already there making sure that the place's ready for the night function. Sound check was done. Chairs and tables at the press room were properly arranged. I managed to take some photos inside and outside STC for remembrance, as I could not join them that night :(
My ONLY (for now) mee kolok experience was superb. Heard about it from Hafiz in the diaries, and got to eat it first time with Hafiz's family! It was at 6pm when Abg Har and Kak Wa suddenly came up with the idea of bringing me to a Mee Kolok place. I was soooooo happy!! Finally I get to taste Hafiz's favourite food. It took them a while to decide which place to bring me to since it was Sunday and a lot of good places for mee kolok were closed. Oh and I had the infamous teh c–peng too!! It was sooo good I could still taste it on my tongue! :)
Then, it was time for me to say goodbye to Abg Har, Kak Wa, E and Ariana. Diorang tak putus2 trying to convince me that I should just stay for a night in Kuching. Z and Baby did the same in the car from the Mee Kolok place to the airport. They wanted to wait for me in the car outside the departure hall if I was not sure of my decision yet. Haha. I was really tempted to stay, seriously, I haven't spent enough time with the whole family. I still want to get to know more of these havoc, fun n loving people! Time just flies very fast when you are having a good time!!!
I finally said goodbye to Z n Baby... At the airport, I was expecting Indai, Mumi and Peace. Peace suddenly SMSed and told me that he was not be able to make it to the airport. Indai and Mumi were at the airport and I passed them a few things Abang Bad pesan pagi tadi. We talked and took photos and I apologised for not being able to meet them earlier.
After checking-in I walked to the gate. The airplane was not there yet. I wrote this SMS to Hafiz's family: “Salam all. Would like to say thanks to all of you. Aunty H, Kak Wa, Abg Har, F, N, Z and Baby and parents and aunties and uncles and cousins and other family members of Hafiz, for having me at the house n your functions today. Really2 appreciate the time spent n the talks n laughs n rides n food n drinks n mee kolok n everything. Hafiz is definitely blessed with not only outstanding talents and good personality n attributes but also with a very warm n close knitted family! I had one of the greatest 14 hours of my life. I'm typing this at the airport while waiting for the plane.. (pls god delay this plane for another 14 hours hehe), and yes i already am missing all of you. Really hope to see all of you again n ring me if you are in KL. Regards to Hafiz (didn't get to see goodbye to him) n to your other family members. Thanks for making my first trip to Kuching a memorable one. Will download the pics in CDs soon. Thanks and thanks again. Luv, RonaldoKaka.”
It was very difficult to leave Kuching. I was the last person to get on to the plane. I walked slowly and part of me just felt like calling Z to get me from the airport. I tried hard to put some senses into my head and finally I landed on a seat in the plane. I turned my phone into Airplane Mode, and tried scribbling an entry into my mobile diary. I started with a few lines and felt so sad and stopped. I took my camera and started looking at all the photos taken during the day. I smiled but my eyes were watery. I slept off the sad feeling. It was indeed one of the happiest 14 hours of my life....