End of 1989 was the peak of my singing career. I was lucky if I had 4 days of rest. I had just finished competing in Kingsway's Pesta Pujaan and I was on the roll. I had engaged a very good friend to help manage my gigs and preparations for shows. I also had a team which consisted of a wardrobe designer, choreographer, back up dancers and musicians.
I was known for my unique repertoire of singing jazz standards with contemporary musical arrangements. During my early years in singing, I was always the singer who was asked to perform during dinner. I found that quite demotivating, as I would hardly get anyone's attention when they are all busy satisfying their hunger for food. I lamented this to my mom. She said, "Take it as a challenge! Sing so well that they will put down their cutleries and turn to watch you sing!" And so I did. I chose my songs carefully, purposefully avoided cliche numbers, and I put it to the test. Mom was right! The satisfaction of seeing people stop eating and turning around to watch me sing gave me such a rush!
When Sultan Azlan Shah became the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, he requested for me to sing for one of his official functions at the National Palace. I was so pleased that I was accompanied by a wonderful orchestra. It was an open air dinner function and it was such a glittering night. I remember that night so vividly. When dinner was served, I was cued to start singing. I sang Fred Astaire's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and when I turned to look at His Majesty who was seated right in front of the stage, I saw him put down his cutleries and gave me his full attention! And after several more jazz standard songs, I ended my singing and His Majesty gave me a very long applause. And the rest of the audience did not stop applauding until the King stopped! Bliss...
I'm sure you know by now, given the news of his passing, where I am leading this entry to. It's this: I don't care for other people's opinions on him. I don't care if there's any truth to what's being said of him. All I know is that His Majesty Sultan Azlan Shah was a true king who touched people's hearts. He was a wise king. He was a caring king. I have sung for many royalties and dignitaries during my singing years. But he remains the best audience I have ever had. He paid attention to my talents and appreciated it. He was generous in his comments and compliments. He was a loyal fan of mine. And that is how I will always remember him.
May Allah bless your soul with His Loving Mercy. May He forgive all your sins and include you among those He loves most of all. May your soul meet the soul of our beloved Shaykh and your prince. May Allah grant you Jannah in eternity. Inna lillahi wa inna illaihi raji'un.