Singer Sufi Rashid's fans give him money after fire
S'porean winner of Akademi Fantasia had to shut his new KL restaurant for a month after blaze in kitchen
A fire at his restaurant showed just how loyal fans can be.
Kuala Lumpur-based Singapore singer Sufi Rashid experienced this first-hand, when a kitchen fire in his new Kuala Lumpur restaurant De'Tulang Merah on March 19, forced him to shut it for over a month.
The eatery, which he co-owns with three other Singaporean and Malaysian partners, had been open for a month when an electrical fault reduced his kitchen to soot.
It re-opened on April 25.
It was during this low point that Sufi, who soared to fame across the Causeway after becoming the first Singaporean to win popular Malaysian reality TV singing competition Akademi Fantasia last year, received unwavering - and unexpected - support from his fans.
The 25-year-old told The New Paper over the phone from Kuala Lumpur: "My fans were sad for me because it was my first business venture and they really wanted to help.
"(According to my manager), some made monetary contributions which came in envelopes, and some even passed it to my other partners.
"Others even came down to help clean up and help where they could to quicken the process."
AFTERMATH: The kitchen in Sufi Rashid's restaurant was damaged in a fire on March 19.
Even though one of Sufi's Singapore fans, Ms Azzahara Muhamad, didn't manage to assist her idol financially, she has lent her support by patronising De'Tulang Merah twice so far.
The 26-year-old told TNP: "I just pray everything will be fine once again and may he have the strength to face the challenges...
"As a fan, I will provide my neverending motivation and encouragement as we know he feels sad and is stressed. When the restaurant was up and running, I felt happy for him and recently went down."
According to Sufi, who was named Most Popular Male Artiste at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian awards ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, renovation works have totalled RM25,000 (S$8,400).
He also estimates the loss in business to have cost him a five-figure sum. On top of losing the revenue for that month, he was forced to cancel bookings for events at the restaurant.
"The whole process to get it up and running again was very hard and time-consuming, but thankfully everyone put this at the top of their list to get it done and back up within a month," said Sufi.
He also redesigned the kitchen space so as to prevent similar incidents from occurring again.
He said: "We broke the partitions and made the area more spacious. Our kitchen equipment and ingredients are also arranged in a more systematic manner as compared to before, when it was a little cramped.
"We also spread the equipment out rather than placing it all in one corner so in the event of an electrical fault, the fire won't spread so fast.
"I even did a bit of research on electrical components to familiarise myself with what could go wrong and not overload the power sources."
But despite getting back on his feet, Sufi still has lingering concerns.
He said: "Business is (picking up), but many people still think the restaurant is closed.
"Even though I've made posts on social media, it's hard to convey the message to people because Malaysia is such a big country."
My fans were sad for me because it was my first business venture and they really wanted to help.
- Kuala Lumpur-based Singapore singer Sufi Rashid