I didn't know what people would think

SINGAPORE - He did not resist when he was pulled up on stage by Indonesia's Dangdut Queen Inul Daratista.

But after she forced him to wrap his arms around her, the only thought in Mr Muhd Farid Abdul Rahman's mind was "seram" (Malay for scared).

The 37-year-old response officer with HDB was helping out as part of the security detail for the Pop & Dangdut Festival yesterday afternoon at Fort Canning.

Though Inul brought on separate groups of men and women from the audience to dance with her, it was Mr Muhd Farid who had the pleasure of a one-on-one dance to popular dangdut song Pacar Lima Langkah.

When the burly man appeared on stage, Inul teased him suggestively about his size.

"You can throw me about, from left to right," she said.

The father of one was nervous, he said, because "there were so many people".

"I didn't know what people would think," he told The New Paper.

One of those people in the crowd was his wife, whom Inul had cheekily spoken to from the stage, asking if she could "borrow" him for a song.

Madam Nur Eriyana Johar, 26, an administrative assistant, not only agreed with a big smile, but got the whole performance on video. Throughout the dance, her husband tepidly made small hip gyrations.

She said: "I was fine with it. I wanted to be sporting, and anyway, it's just a concert."

Performing to a crowd of about 1,000 in weather that changed from 31 deg C heat to a brief shower of rain mid-set, Inul, 35, ploughed through her hits like Goyang Inul and Masa Lalu, as well as popular Indonesian songs like Yank by Wali Band for almost an hour.

Just one set into her song, she pulled up fans on stage to dance, a scene which repeated itself not just during her set but also in the performances by other Indonesian acts Tegar and Singaporean dangdut singer Rosalina.

Taking to heart the lyrics of Inul's hit Goyang Inul, in which she implores "para pentonon, bapak-bapak, ibu-ibu" (audience members, men and women in bahasa Indonesia) to "goyang" (dance), domestic helpers, families, grandmothers and toddlers who attended did so in the crowd and on stage.

Tickets for the event were sold at $30 and $35.


The festivities kicked off with a dangdut competition for domestic helpers, an annual event run by the concert organisers.

By the time the main acts appeared, the crowd had been well and truly warmed up.

Opener Rosalina, the local dangdut singer who made her name in the scene 15 years ago, was the first to bring up goyang-happy guests, including one older woman the singer dubbed "Michael Jackson" for wearing white gloves, and for her sensational moves like crawling on the stage.

The women in the Fort Canning crowd happily volunteered themselves for five minutes of fame, but the men had to be cajoled. But those who did go up on stage impressed. A man even did a backflip during Rosalina's set.

It was hard to resist the charms of dangdut pros like Inul and Rosalina, who appeared on stage together to perform Goyang Inul, though not before Rosalina received a tutorial in Inul's popular "goyang ngebor" ("drilling" dance).

Even on a dangdut break with pop acts Tegar and S4, the crowd was more than suitably entertained. Styled like K-pop idols, S4 - made up of Firly, Jeje, Alif and Arthur - were vocally flawless on their singles Driving Me Crazy and She Is My Girl, as well as on covers of K-pop boy band Big Bang's hits Blue and Fantastic Baby.

Tegar, 12, who went from being a street singer to being labelled "Indonesia's Justin Bieber" for his viral YouTube videos, performed his biggest hit Aku Yang Dulu Bukanlah Yang Sekarang twice. The second time was with all the festival's acts, for the finale.

Ariyanti, 32, who has been a domestic helper here for five years, said: "I even switched my day off to be here today because I could not miss my idol Inul."

Male fan joins Indonesia's Dangdut Queen on stage as she turns up the heat at Fort Canning concert.

Get The New Paper for more stories.