It’s been 6 years since I last photographed one of Malaysia’s most celebrated artistes Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza when she performed at the 2005 Konsert Muhibah Diraja in Brunei Darussalam. It had been just been a year since I made a career switch to photojournalism so the opportunity to include an artiste and personality of her stature a rather significant step forward. Six years ago, I made an 8 x 12 print of the second photo waiting for the day to have it autographed by Siti knowing that someday she would be back in Brunei. Recently, the artiste visited Brunei to promote her brand of skincare and cosmetic products called SIMPLYSITI. She was just a hour’s drive away and probably another hour’s wait to have her ink the picture yet it was not meant to be. Something came up and I couldn’t make the trip but that’s OK, I have waited six years, perhaps somewhere in between now and the next six year I may accomplish this mission!
SimplySiti is a beauty brand that is inspired by Malaysian women and a Malaysian brand with international standards that carries the tagline, “It used to be my secret, now it’s yours”, by Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza. Brunei Darussalam is the first country that Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza chose to expand her beauty line after being in operation for one year and the brand is planning to expand into Indonesia and Singapore soon. — The Brunei Times | 10 June 2011
“It has been a while since I last came to Brunei, I feel quite fortunate to receive a great support for SimplySiti here. Since SimplySiti started, my goal is to expand the brand internationally and with the demand and support from all my fans in Brunei, I decided that Brunei is the best place to begin. Furthermore, Brunei is our closest neighbour,” said Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza.
I recall the moments leading up to this defining shot of Siti Nurhaliza as she was about to leave the stage after her brilliant performance, she hesitated briefly not knowing if she should take the left or right exit. I had pretty much rooted myself at the left exit most of the evening so when she decided to take the left exit, I was prepared and fired away till she was out of sight. Though I have a series of stage moments, in my archives, this is by far a personal favourite. I met Siti again the next day at a press event where she launched her own brand of Malaysian tea called “Ctea” that’s cultivated on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, Sabah and which comes in two flavors, Geranium Special and Pandan.