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M. Nasir is a man of few words. He exudes a quiet energy akin to that of a 'strong, silent type'. Many regard him disdainfully for his forthrightness, though his legion of female fans sees him in a more favorable light.

'I don't really talk much unless you ask me questions,' he said. But two hours on, I had Nasir expounding the merits of certain TV shows. 'My current favourite series is C.S.I,' he admitted.

While he may have been the idealist, he's mellowed a lot since, admitting to being an 'entertainer'. Shocking as it's no secret that he detests labels of any sort.

'Well, as you've suggested, I believe I have evolved,' he said, throwing back his charcoal shoulder-length mane with a roaring laughter. It was a refreshingly odd sight to witness the M. Nasir this approachable.

As a powerhouse in the local performing arts industry, creating and advocating Malay-rooted music mainly, Nasir has set the bar quite high for players in the genre. However, his entry into the music world was quite accidental.

Life began simply and humbly in Bukit Panjang, Singapore. 'There are just flats and malls there now,' said the fourth-born of nine siblings. 'I had a fairly religious upbringing, but even so, my parents were open-minded. They were happy knowing I had some kind of a proper job,' said Nasir.

His innate talent in music had to surface, even if he started out as a painter. Post graduation in 1978 from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore; his initial plans were to travel to Europe and establish himself as painter there. 'But I got offered a job to act in radio plays on Singapore Broadcast Corporation (SBC) and I took it,' explained Nasir, who also wrote the theme song for the radio play, Kenangan Lalu. 'The people at the station were surprised. They said I was supposed to be doing voice-overs, but were impressed that I had ended up writing the song as well,' he smiled in recollection.

For someone who never really studied music, save for the six months of classical guitar at Nanyang Academy to `complete my knowledge in the arts', Nasir has certainly made an indelible impression in the world of harmonies. At about the time he was doing the SBC gig, he attracted Polygram Singapore executive producer Wan Ibrahim's attention, who introduced him to the record company. Soon his debut as born, Untuk Pencinta Seni, under the name Mohamad M.N. It was still quite experimental as it offered no specific direction in Nasir's true musical quest. It wasn't until he was put together with the group Kembara, that the real man emerged, one of progressive rock, befitting the contemplative, brooding persona he had cultivated.

His musical expressions mimic his life. After the demise of his first wife, Nasir married actress Marlia Musa, and has since, undergone noticeable transformations. For example, his role as the Principal in the local reality television series, Akademi Fantasia 3, where Marlia assumed the role of the drama teacher. It seemed unlikely that the wistful artiste would do it, but he did. 'What I drew from the experience was great. I learnt that I can be expressive, articulate and affectionate,' said Nasir openly.

His more recent triumph, however, came in the form of an epic movie, the legendary story of Puteri Gunung Ledang. As Hang Tuah, M. Nasir was a perfect fit; a model of composure, wisdom, understated yet with brute strength, will and courage. The movie was subsequently restaged as a musical but Nasir had to decline the same role as he had committed to producing his own album after a four-year hiatus since Phoenix Bangkit came out in 2001.

Right now M. Nasir is contented to just be in the music world. I am still learning. I will still be an entertainer.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

Name two characteristics of M. Nasir as described in paragraph 1.


From paragraph 4, how has he changed ?


From paragraph 5, what kind of music does he indulge in ?

  4. Give some particulars about his family background as in paragraph 6.
  5. Explain in your own words M. Nasir's comments on accepting the role of the Principal in Akademi Fantasia.
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a) A man of few words.

b) Forthright



He is not an idealist anymore and was not as friendly as now.



Malay-rooted music



He was from Bukit Panjang, Singapore and the fourth of nine siblings.



He said that the experience was good and he became aware that he could be expressive, articulate and affectionate.


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Comprehension 1


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