Chingay 2014: Meet the getai singer in a songkok

Pictures by: 
Benjamin Seetor
Report by: 
Azim Azman

He’s Malay and his ability to sing in Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese surprises people. But what really raises eyebrows is when he tells them he’s a getai singer. Rawi Hamim is also part of this year’s Chingay Parade. “When I started out as a getai singer 25 years ago, I was definitely the first Malay (to do so),” said the 53-year-old bachelor who works at the front office of Gleneagles Hospital. “Now I think there are five or six Malay getai singers on the circuit.”

Before his foray into the getai world, he was a singer in the People’s Association band. He credits actor-deejay Marcus Chin for getting him on the getai circuit. Chin, 60, said: “I met him at a show I was hosting back in the 80s. I saw that not only could he sing, but he could dance as well.”

He said he wanted a Malay singer for getai shows at community centres. “I saw that he had the potential, so I advised him to learn some dialect songs so that he could perform in more shows,” he said. “The reception was wonderful whenever he performed a song in dialect.”

Despite his resolve, Rawi’s first few steps into the getai world were tentative.

Here are also more pictures from the parade.

The report related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on February 8, 2014.