The New Paper
By Judith Tan
September 14, 2014
They grew up in front of the nation. While some of these former pint-size performers continue in showbiz, others have fallen off the fame map.
TV kitten turns TV producer
WHO: Muhamad Raydza Abdul Rahman
THEN: It was his elder sister who wanted to audition for a part in a children's TV show.
"It was for Bengkel Kanak-Kanak (Children's Workshop in Malay). I reluctantly went with her. I sang, danced and read lines without any intention of getting picked," Mr Muhamad Raydza Abdul Rahman says.
He got picked, his sister didn't. "A few weeks later, SBC (Singapore Broadcasting Corporation) sent a letter. I underwent a month of gruelling workshops conducted by well known Malay practitioners. We learnt to act, dance and sing properly. I was nine then."
After "graduating" in 1986, Mr Raydza went on to appear in mainly Malay programmes for the next 22 years.
At the start, he was a regular in the Mat Yoyo series as the boy who wore the kitten costume.
Then there was Bengkel Kanak-Kanak and children's Hari Raya programmes.
He was also on English kids' show Stardust until 1994.
"As a child, I was extremely shy and performing was not my forte. I started out stiff as a robot, but with training, I managed to find my feet and develop my talent. I'm really thankful it indirectly made me a better person," he says.
Mr Raydza's fame brought some trouble too.
"Some schoolmates called me 'pondan' (gay in Malay) for being on TV. I would get shouted at by groups of kids at the playground, void deck or shops," he says.
"They would shout 'Mat Yoyo!' and sing the theme song. Some even wanted to pick fights."
NOW: The taunting didn't stop him from acting.
In 1997, he landed a role in a Malay historical drama series Watan (Native in Malay), directed by award-winning director Nadiputra.
But in 2009, he sought new challenges and he moved behind the camera.
The bachelor, 37, is now a Channel NewsAsia producer for online broadcasting.
The career change, Mr Raydza says, has given him a different perspective of the trade.
"I can have the freedom to be myself and showcase what I want without being criticised because of my looks," he says with a grin.