Rapper Alif Abdullah celebrates Hari Raya with new baby
Rapper Alif Abdullah's mum died this year, but he wants to give his new baby a happy Hari Raya in her memory
Within four months, he lost a mother and gained a daughter.
Local rapper Alif Abdullah - better known as Alyph when he was one half of former hip-hop duo Sleeq together with his cousin Syarif - told The New Paper that he "doesn't know what to expect" for Hari Raya Puasa this year.
"I lost an anchor in my life," said Alif, 26.
"When my mother (died), I was at my most vulnerable. She was my support, my strength and my confidante for everything."
Alif's month-old daughter Alana, who is his first child with wife Azzah Fariha Samat, was about three months shy of meeting her nenek (grandmother in Malay).
His mother died of lung cancer on Feb 16. She and the family had found out about the illness early last year.
"When mama found out about Azzah's pregnancy, she was so happy and started to tear," Alif said.
Alana was born on May 30.
He said: "As much as I don't know what Hari Raya is going to be like for us as a family and for me as an individual, I know mama would want us to make sure Alana enjoys her first Hari Raya.
"She was the kind of woman who would always put others before herself, especially her children and definitely her grandchildren. And that's exactly what we're going to do."
Similar to past years, the first day of Hari Raya will involve visiting the homes of the couples' parents and grandparents.
After being busy with their respective children, new dads Alif and Syarif reunited yesterday for our photo shoot at Alif's condominium unit in Bedok. It was their second time meeting since their babies were born.
For Azzah, 28, Hari Raya also comes just in time. The actress ends her 40-day confinement period right on the eve of the festive season.
"I feel great. Totally healed," she said.
"If I had the choice, I'd be out today, but my confinement period is already coming to a close so I'm just going to finish it up."
Azzah added that Alana "has been such a good baby".
"She doesn't keep us up at night as we have heard babies can. She wakes up for her milk and goes back to bed very quickly," she said.
Added Alif with a laugh: "There's a lot more things to do now that we're parents. Topics of conversations with friends now include diapers and cleaning baby poop."
For Alif, life changed when he found out his wife was pregnant while he was in Kuala Lumpur for work.
"I remember the day Azzah told me. I was away and it was 4am when she video-called me.
"My phone started ringing while I was in the studio and in the zone, so I was quite agitated when I saw the call because I didn't want anything to distract me.
"But the moment I answered the phone, she showed me the positive pregnancy test. I immediately packed my bags and headed for Singapore to be with her.
"That, to me, was the day my life changed. I knew I was going to be a father and I was ecstatic about it."
Now that Alana is here, Alif said he can't wait to see what Hari Raya is going to be like.
However, he admitted: "It's a bittersweet feeling. But I'm ready for it and I'm going to make sure Alana has a good first Hari Raya.
"After all, I know Mama would want nothing short of that."
I know mama would want us to make sure Alana enjoys her first Hari Raya.
- Alif Abdullah on his late mother
His Hari Raya will 'revolve around' baby
It has been six months since they welcomed their bundle of joy, Selma Malika.
And it has been "so magical", said 27-year-old local singer and actor Syarif, who married former Singapore Idol 3 finalist Malaque Mahdaly in 2014.
Syarif, whose real name is Ahmad Syarifullah, told The New Paper: "Fatherhood has been great so far, but tiring.
"Especially the first few months, when we were trying to adjust (to) her sleeping hours and diaper changes."
He added: "Before I became a father, I had friends who were fathers tell me that no matter how tired I am coming home at the end of the day, seeing my child would take my fatigue away.
"I didn't believe it till I experienced it for myself. On days when I come back tired from shoots, I just see her looking at me and I will have the energy to play with her before heading to bed."
Malaque, 27, who co-owns churro shop Chulop! By The Syarifs in East Village with Syarif, said: "Diaper changes are all on him because I get freaked out very easily by pee and all that stuff."
Syarif hopes his daughter will follow in his musical footsteps.
He said he composes bedtime lullabies for Selma while driving and has found a melody that soothes her.
"It's too early to tell if she will become a singer, but I want her to be musically inclined. I want her to play instruments, something I never got to do when I was younger.
"I'll be sending her to piano classes," he said.
He and Alif, who is also a first-time father, now have one more thing in common.
"We didn't expect time to pass this fast. The last thing I remember was us doing music.
"We exchange what we've learned (about fatherhood) and experiences with our daughters and I'm happy that we're approaching each stage of life together," said Syarif, who sees play dates and sleepovers in Alana's - Alif's daughter - and Selma's future.
He hopes the two will have a bond similar to his and Alif's.
And this year's Hari Raya Puasa will be one to remember for the first-time parents.
Syarif joked: "Instead of getting ready half an hour before, we'll have to start getting ready 1½ hours earlier this year.
"I wonder if (Selma) will be able to last throughout the day and night because we're going to be out visiting the entire day.
"Malaque will probably have to make nursing stops at every house.
"This Raya will definitely revolve around her. I'm so excited. She's going to look so pretty in pictures.
"I keep telling Malaque we have to take so many videos to cherish the moments of her first Raya.
"I really can't wait to go out for our first Raya as a family," he gushed.
And will there be another baby?
Said Malaque: "Not until I lose all the pregnancy weight."
Syarif, who hopes to have three children by the age of 30, added: "It will happen when it does."
On days when I come back tired from shoots, I just see her looking at me and I will have the energy to play with her before heading to bed.
- Syariq on how seeing his child rejuvenates him