He calls 2014 the worst year of his life.
Singaporean singer Aliff Aziz cannot seem to keep out of trouble, after getting embroiled in several controversies that have cemented his "bad boy" reputation.
The Kuala Lumpur-based artist, 23, made headlines this month for allegedly punching a Seri Pacific Hotel staff member in Kuala Lumpur, a day after his appearance at the annual Malaysian music awards ceremony Anugerah Industri Muzik.
Speculation was rife that he was drunk, drugged or possessed.
In September, he was slapped with a $2,000 fine for stealing two mobile phones in May.
Aliff, 23, hopes that 2015 will be one of fresh starts.
"As much as this has been the lowest point of my life, it has also been a year of learning. I choose to look at it in a positive light, learn from my mistakes and be a better person," he told The New Paper in a telephone interview yesterday.
Given the negative publicity he has been attracting, Aliff has been lying low for the last few months. He spends most of his days home at home in Singapore, reflecting on the year's incidents.
He also revealed that he no longer reads what his detractors say about him online.
Despite the bad press and finger-pointing, Aliff maintains his innocence in both cases.
He said that reports of his act of violence at the Malaysian hotel were untrue.
"I did not hit anyone. I wasn't under the influence of drugs and to prove it, I had a urine test that came out negative.
"I've been accused of seeking attention, but that's stupid. Why would I do that after months of trying to lie low?" he said.
He added that he is awaiting instructions from his record label Sony Music Malaysia regarding the case.
His career has also taken a beating.
Aliff admitted he had lost some job opportunities and fans.
"(They) were supposed to come for a meet-and-greet session, (but) pulled out in the end. But what can I do about that? I can't blame them," he said.
One of the things that Aliff has learnt this year is to man up for his actions.
PART AND PARCEL
"All this is part and parcel of celebrity life. I can never please everybody. I've also stopped pushing blame for my actions," he said.
When asked where he went wrong, Aliff said that he has made some bad decisions.
"I cannot use (immaturity) as an excuse because I'm not 16 any more. I made wrong decisions. And it's time for me to know my own weaknesses and be honest with myself," he said.
This time, Aliff stressed, he will fight harder to be better for himself and his loved ones.
His family, including his younger sister Aisyah Aziz, who is also a singer, and close friends have been his pillars of support. They have been offering him encouragement throughout the ordeal.
"I know what it means to be on top and I also know how it feels to be at the bottom. I don't want a repeat of 2014," he said, adding that he is determined to stay out of trouble and look ahead to welcoming the new year.
He is almost finished with his fourth album, aptly-titled Rebirth, which is slated for a mid-January release.
"I feel like I'm born again. This is the new me and I am more determined now. I want to bury the past, look forward and start from square one," he said.
Does he have a New Year resolution? Aliff replied simply: "To live up to the title of my album. I want to prove to everyone that I have changed."
Mum will continue to support him
Sadness, frustration and dismay.
Those were some of the emotions Madam Siti Hafiza Sheikh Mohamad had to deal with whenever she was greeted by news of Aliff Aziz's alleged misdeeds.
But the 47-year-old, who manages a private clinic, sought his explanation each time and fully trusts her only son and eldest child.
She told The New Paper over the phone: "As a parent, you can never give up on your children, no matter what they do.
"The only two people they can fully trust and count on are their own parents."
She felt that Aliff's biggest flaw is being easily influenced and being too trusting when making friends.
"He is a smart and very nice boy, but he is too trusting. He wants to experience life, but at times, might not think of the consequences," she admitted.
Madam Siti Hafiza, her husband and Aliff's two sisters have continued to support the singer through the trying times.
"Even I made mistakes as a young adult. No one is perfect, not even me, but unfortunately for Aliff, he has never been able to catch a break. I try to motivate him and give him advice.
"As a parent, I wish to take the pain away from him, but I can't. I can only go through this with him," she said.
She added: "If at any point he says he does not want this career any more, I will fully support him. All my life, I've only known him as Aliff my son."
Aliff's chequered past
Berita Harian reported that Aliff was fined $2,000 for stealing two mobile phones with another man in May. On this matter, Aliff told TNP that he is innocent, but he chose not to elaborate.
He was accused in the gossip column of a Malaysian newspaper of hiding in Singapore to run away from debt, an allegation he has denied and claimed was a "misunderstanding" as a result of late payments on several bills.
He was also slammed by fans for his dyed blond hair, an image he said was merely for the shooting of a music video for his single Tak Ada Cinta Sepertimu with Malaysian singer Siti Nordiana.
A Malaysian newspaper report said that he lacked discipline on set while filming for a drama series in Malaysia. He was said to often disappear from set and was tardy.
Aliff revealed that he was supposed to marry then-girlfriend, Malaysian actress Nasriah "Anne" Ngasri, but they broke up and she married someone else in December that year. The split was attributed to multiple factors, including a third party, disapproval from their families and Anne's single mother status.
This article was first published on Dec 18, 2014.
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