Teacher’s virtual video with star goes viral

Teacher becomes overnight sensation after virtual duet with Jessie J

HARD ACT TO FOLLOW: Mr Fairus Adam, a primary school teacher, says British singer Jessie J’s (above) voice is amazing.
HARD ACT TO FOLLOW: Mr Fairus Adam (above), a primary school teacher, says British singer Jessie J’s voice is amazing.

Primary school teacher Fairus Adam was shocked when he was eliminated during the first round of auditions for Singapore Idol 3 in 2009.

He had cracked the top 75 in the inaugural season of the reality TV singing competition back in 2004.

Now, six long years later, his singing talent is finally being noticed.

Using the popular Sing! Karaoke app, the 32-year-old uploaded a three-minute video on Facebook of himself belting out a virtual duet with British singer Jessie J last Sunday.

Via the app, Jessie J had asked her fans to perform her song Flashlight, which is featured in the hit movie musical Pitch Perfect 2, with her.

Mr Fairus, who does not have any professional vocal training, took up the challenge and showcased his incredible range.

Within a few days, the clip went viral.

It has since chalked up more than 760,000 views on Facebook.




Speaking to The New Paper, he said: "It was surreal. People will watch videos only of good-looking singers. I'm just this normal guy singing. So I was quite shocked at the reaction."

He listened to Flashlight only twice before uploading his first take onto his Facebook page.

"I tried it because it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance that you get to 'sing' with Jessie J.

"It was a very difficult song and I thought that it was quite off-limits for me. Jessie J's voice is amazing," said Mr Fairus, who cited singing superstars Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder as his favourites.

Flashlight, which was uploaded on May 19 on the app, has spawned over 25,000 virtual duets to date.

Mr Fairus, who is single, hopes his effort will grab the attention of Jessie J, who has picked two submissions to feature on her Facebook page.

"I'd feel honoured if she saw me singing with her," he said. "I hope she will also pick someone from Asia."

In the past week, close to 4,000 people from the region have requested to add Mr Fairus on Facebook after watching his video.

He said: "I feel happy as I have received mainly positive comments, especially from Singaporeans.

"It shows that Singaporeans do support local talent if you can sing well, or show that you have improved."

But his sudden surge in popularity has also given him more pressure as he feels that people will now have higher expectations of him.

"Usually when I sing, it's just very casual. Now, some people leave professional comments on my video. They might nit-pick and scruntinise and that makes me feel stressed."

He has also posted covers of popular songs like Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud, Sam Smith's Lay Me Down, Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire and Pink's Just Give Me A Reason on Facebook and YouTube.

Other than being rejected from Singapore Idol twice, he took a stab at the Suria reality TV singing competition Anugerah in 2003 and got into the top five.

After national service, Mr Fairus pursued a specialised diploma in teaching and learning from the National Institute of Education.

He became a relief teacher in 2006 and a full-time teacher in 2009.

Even though he appears to have what it takes to be a professional singer, the pragmatic educator who has been teaching Malay and music at Wellington Primary School for six years, said he is happy with his day job.

Some of his pupils' parents expressed surprise at his vocal abilities after watching his video.

His colleagues also played the video at a staff meeting.

He said: "I was very embarrassed, but I am glad that everyone in my school has been so supportive. I thought about being a singer when I was in secondary school, but it's not practical in Singapore."

Mr Fairus, who performs at weddings from time to time, said matter-of-factly: "I think this video will open more doors for me in terms of singing gigs on the side, but I guess that's about it. This kind of viral stuff doesn't last that long."

"I'd feel honoured if she saw me singing with her. I hope she will also pick someone from Asia."

- Mr Fairus Adam



Number of views Mr Fairus Adam's virtual duet with Jessie J has got so far on Facebook.

1,300 songs on music app

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He gets tired when victim puts up fight

Cleaner lures maid to multi-storey carpark and tries to rape her

A 32-year-old Bangladeshi cleaner was jailed six years and given eight strokes of the cane on Friday (May 30) for attempting to rape a maid at a Woodlands carpark in November 2013.

Mohd Nurul Islam Md Hatem Ali lied to the maid about a fight involving another maid and lured her to the deserted four-storey of the carpark.

There, he hit, bit and kissed her, before pinning her onto the ground in an attempt to rape her.

He also sexually violated her with his finger.

But she struggled violently and used her thighs to prevent the rape, forcing him to give up as he tired out after a few minutes.

For each charge of attempted rape or sexually penetrating the victim with his finger, Mohd Nurul Islam could have been jailed for up to 20 years and also liable to a fine or caning.

Read the full report in our print edition on May 30. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

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Tags: Football and fifa

'No crisis if Russia, Qatar not chosen'

Blatter blames corruption scandal on the countries' successful World Cup bids

Sepp Blatter
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Tags: fifa and sepp blatter

Blatter does not know shame

Blatter's refusal to resign shows Fifa at its rotten worst

THE RED CARD: A protester wearing a mask depicting Sepp Blatter holding Swiss Francs, as another holds up a banner outside the Hallenstadium in Zurich, where the Fifa Congress took place yesterday.

From corrupt kings to mafia bosses, omnipotent leaders always know when they're beaten in the end.

Ego usually succumbs to the reality of defeat. But Sepp Blatter is no ordinary leader.

When he had the chance, finally, to do the right thing, the Fifa president couldn't bring himself to fall on his sword.

He couldn't salvage what was left of his dignity and Fifa's tattered reputation. Instead, he fought on for an unthinkable, unforgivable fifth term as Fifa president.

At press time, vote counters were busy piling up the votes for Blatter and his only rival, Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan.

The voting blocks of Africa and Asia were expected to prop up their paymaster, hoping for future handouts for their unquestioned loyalty.

Blatter simply cannot win without the votes from a compliant Asian Football Confederation.

The Football Federation of Australia publicly declared its intention to break away from the continental block and vote for Prince Ali's progressive manifesto - one built on a platform of transparency and grassroots development.

He ran on the promise of downgrading his power, reducing the tyrannical control of the presidency and moving towards a more open process.


But the AFC had already declared their backing for Blatter.

As a continent, we must question and challenge the motives of our football confederation because the instinctive emotion must be one of shame.

Unfortunately, that humiliation does not extend to the most shamed man in world football.

Blatter was unmoved last night.

In a frankly absurd speech, Blatter admitted there were a few rotten apples in the camp, before adding: "You can't just ask people to behave ethically just like that."

He feigned ignorance, adding that it was impossible to oversee 209 member associations.

But he didn't have to. He only needed to police the Fifa executives arrested on charges of corruptions. He couldn't even manage that. So was he either corrupt or ignorant? There is no middle ground here.

And yet, extraordinarily, Blatter still slips through the cracks.

Fourteen current and former Fifa executives have been arrested on corruption charges, as part of a staggering US Department of Justice indictment, over racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

The formidable Loretta Lynch, the American attorney general, laid out 47 corruption charges against nine top Fifa officials and five marketing executives. She has referred to Fifa as an organisation rife with "racketeers".

Blatter often refers to Fifa as a global family. Who knew he meant 
the Sopranos?

So he continues to rely on his fawning voters in Africa and Asia, making them offers they can't refuse.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday called for Blatter's removal and greater transparency.

Greg Dyke, chairman of the English FA, demanded a coordinated European boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, if Blatter didn't go.


Uefa president Michel Platini had already pleaded with his former mentor to step aside.

But Blatter didn't listen. He never has.

With added poignancy, protesters gathered outside the Fifa headquarters in Zurich to take action over Qatar's mistreatment of migrant workers building the 2022 World Cup's infrastructure.

An investigation has already revealed that 964 construction workers died in Qatar in 2012 and 2013; the figure is expected to reach 4,000 by the time the first ball is kicked in 2022.

In other words, more workers will die before the World Cup than the number of footballers who will play inside the stadiums.

But Blatter did nothing, other than renege on the original agreement and back a winter tournament and make some idiotic comments about gay football fans staying away to avoid persecution.

Even his homeland is fed up with him and his organisation's lavish US$255 million ($344m) headquarters in Zurich; an ugly symbol to greed and corruption.

After raiding the building, Swiss authorities continue their investigations in the 2018 and 2022 bidding races, with Australian and British authorities eager to join the party.

Finally, after years of international inertia, leading states are now willing to do what Blatter has refused to do for decades.

Follow the money. Trace the stench. Take down the corrupt. Restore credibility.

But Blatter's self-serving acolytes are only interested in the status quo.


They seek to prop up the 79-year-old for a fifth term so he can drip-feed the cash at regular intervals, like a Dickensian aristocrat throwing down scraps for beggars.

If Blatter endures, in any capacity, then greed has won. A shamed man has no shame. But then, nor do the voters who back such a rotten establishment.

When there's so much cash at stake, it seems, there's no place for a conscience.

"Theo Zwanziger (ex-president of the German football federation) once said something clever, ‘It’s not the person but the system’. It’s very difficult to change the system. How can you control 209 countries? You’re always going to have a few irregularities. We need a new system. I’m not sure which one."

— Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer, on the Fifa farce