Saturday, June 14, 2003

The Siti Sensation

Ask any Indonesian to name a Malaysian singer that they know, inevitably they will say Siti Nurhaliza. As I'm typing these lines at my favourite Internet cafe, strains of Siti's Cindai float through the air. I realised during my many years of coming to Jakarta that a good conversation starter is Siti Nurhaliza. Most admire her beauty and her voice. Her most popular songs here are Aku Cinta Pada Mu and Cindai. You can request for both of these songs in karaokes here but beware, they are notoriously difficult to sing.

I introduced one of my Indonesian Chinese colleagues to Siti Nurhaliza's songs and now he is totally enamoured with her. I find him even slightly annoying these days with his Aku Cinta Pada Mu ringtone bursting out incessantly from his cellphone. I have another Indonesian Chinese colleague who has a huge collection of Siti's pictures from the Internet. It is interesting that a conservative singer such as Siti Nurhaliza could garner such a large following here in Indonesia when local divas like Kris Dayanti and sexy Dangdut grillers like Inul Daratista typically dominate the music scene.

Among the local Indonesian bands, Dewa, Sheila on 7 and Padi are probably the most popular ones. I have become quite a Dewa fan too. Most Indonesians are also familiar with Amy Search, mainly because of his song Isabella, which was quite a hit here back then. Sheila Majid is also quite well-known but Siti Nurhaliza is definitely the number one Malaysian singer here by a wide margin. Ziana Zain? Sorry, no one has heard of her before.

No comments: