Diva comes out fighting

IN Oct 14 last year, the nation was shocked when news got out that two thugs had attacked veteran singer Datuk Sharifah Aini when she was on her way to visit her relatives. The incident, which left the singer lying in a ditch opposite TV3's headquarters, initially caused a wellspring of sympathy for the diva, who was already in trouble for allegedly circulating a malicious e-mail about another singer.

But within a day or two, the tide started turning as police investigating the incident failed to find corroborating evidence of the attack. Sharifah Aini, who was still hospitalised at that point, found herself being accused of fabricating the incident.

Worse, stories began circulating that the singer had "lost it" and was mentally ill.

The press had a field day, trotting up a list of previous "controversies" surrounding Sharifah Aini, and implying, among other things, that she was jealous of the success of the new generation of singers.

A lesser person would have just slunk into the sidelines or gone into hiding after such a public humiliation. But not Sharifah Aini. No sir, she was not going to take things lying down. Now, nearly a year after the "assault" incident, she has come out with a book in collaboration with body language expert Jackson Yogarajah. Entitled Breaking The Silence: 55 Reasons Why Sharifah Aini Was Not Lying, the book aims to, in her own words, "set the record straight".

This book is divided into two sections. The first chronicles Sharifah Aini's life in her own words, detailing her past and answering questions about the controversies surrounding her in recent times.

The second section reveals Jackson's findings about the mysterious attack on the singer and his own tips for detecting lies and untruths. There are plans to translate the book into Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese. In an interview with theSun, Sharifah fielded questions regarding the book's content.

What is the aim of the book?
I felt it was time I spoke up and gave my side of the story as there have been too much speculation and conclusions drawn that have not done me any good. Maintaining a dignified silence is no longer an option because I am being portrayed as the villain; this has not only affected me but also my children's peace of mind.

I have been to hell and back as a result of malicious writings spread on the Internet and now it is time that I correct all these misconceptions by telling my side of the story so that the public can form their own conclusions.

What if the public still refuse to believe your side of the story?
I shouldn't worry about that. I just want to tell my side of the story. I am not being defensive. I am not asking anyone to believe me. It is their choice to believe what they want to believe.

What is the status of your Oct 14, 2004 assault case, where you claimed two men beat you up?
The police say the case is closed and even hinted that I have mental problems, adding that I should be referred to a psychiatrist. I am surprised at how the authorities came up with the mental instability theory. Where did all this come from? I want to get to the bottom of it.

Aren't you afraid of legal repercussions?
I am not afraid of anything. I am just repeating what has been said in the newspapers about my assault. I had my own lawyers look into the book (to see to the legal aspects).

It is important to stress that I have nothing against the police force. Indeed, I have a high regard for them. I am only having problems with two officers. I am not attacking anyone ... it is all facts.

I am looking for justice. Why am I being punished? Why suggest that I should be sent to a mental institution? But I am not going to play the victim. I am mentally stable - in the book, a psychiatrist comes to the same conclusion.

Will this create more enemies for you?
Even without this book, I already have enemies. I believe somebody up there is looking after me. I was made to believe by authorities that I was mentally unwell. All I want is justice for myself. I am not being difficult ... I think I am a voice for the young artistes ... for the next generation of artistes. Someone has to speak up and unfortunately it has to be me.


10 reasons to read Sharifah Aini's book

This book provides 55 reasons why Sharifah Aini was not lying about the incident that took place on Oct 14 last year. Here, theSun gives you 10 reasons to read Breaking the Silence: 55 Reasons Why Sharifah Aini Was Not Lying, which is published by Sales Excellence Training Sdn Bhd (RM99).

  • She raises some pertinent questions about the assault that may have been swept away in the media glare. For instance, she wonders why she was not allowed to view the CCTV footage from the TV3 building, which apparently showed no such attack occurring.
  • Her falling out with a certain female reporter whom she considered a friend.
  • Sharifah Aini talks for the first time about her two ex-husbands and the good relationship she maintained with them after the divorce.
  • The fierce custody battle she had with her ex husband Ali Bakar over their son, Aliff.
  • Her rocky relationship with her own mother and how they now share a more warm and respectable relationship. You will also find out the truth about her infamous suit against a local publication where her mother testified against her.
  • Her difficult childhood years where she had to do odd jobs to survive, such as selling kuih and sewing baju kurung, leading up to her successful singing career that has spanned decades.
  • Her fascination with talk show host Oprah Winfrey and her dream of bringing Oprah to Malaysia.
  • Her so-called war with the late singer Puan Sri Saloma after Sharifah Aini's innocent comment about singers having to plan their future to avoid being in a situation where they are financially destitute in their later years was twisted by a certain newspaper, which portrayed her as being insensitive and arrogant for making such a statement.
  • The four-page letter from Aliff where he clears up some misconceptions and addresses rumours about his relationship with his mother.
  • As yet unpublished photos of Sharifah Aini in her younger days, as well as a rare picture of her wedding to Ali Bakar.