Just last month, local singer Sufi Rashid proudly celebrated the opening of his first restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
But on Saturday, the 25-year-old issued a notice to his patrons and fans on Instagram, informing them that the eatery will be "closed till further notice" for renovation works.
Little did they know that the kitchen of De'Tulang Merah had caught fire that morning.
Sufi soared to fame across the Causeway after becoming the first Singaporean to win popular Malaysian reality TV singing competition Akademi Fantasia last year.
He told The New Paper over the phone from Kuala Lumpur yesterday: "I received a call from the owner of a neighbouring bar at about 5am. He told me he smelled something burning coming from my shop.
"When I arrived, I was shocked to see everything reduced to black soot in the kitchen. There was nothing left in the kitchen."
Sufi said closed-circuit television footage showed a bright spark coming out from one of the chillers, possibly caused by an electrical fault.
By about 5.30am, firefighters were at the scene to extinguish the fire. Investigations are still ongoing but Sufi has ruled out foul play, saying he does not have enemies.
He had pumped in RM100,000 (S$34,000) into the business, which he co-owns with three other Singaporean and Malaysian partners.
Renovation works have set them back by RM25,000 and he estimates the loss in business has cost him a five-figure sum.
If all goes smoothly, De'Tulang Merah will be up and running by early next month.
"I'm just thankful that there was no one around when the accident happened," said Sufi, who will be in Singapore this Saturday to perform at rock concert Rentak Singapura 'Anda Mau Rock?'. He will also perform at charity concert Projek Kasih on April 8.
This stroke of bad luck has not stopped Sufi from exploring expansion plans for his restaurant.
"Thankfully, business has been brisk since we started and I hope we'll have that continued support when we re-open.
"I also hope to open a second (outlet) in Johor in the near future," said Sufi.
And it hasn't all been bad news either.
Yesterday, he learnt that he has earned his first nomination in Malaysia's prestigious Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (ABPBH) awards.
He is the only Singaporean among four other Malaysian nominees in the Most Popular New Male Artist category.
"It would be a miracle if I win. This, by far, is the biggest honour I've ever received after Akademi Fantasia," said Sufi.
The surprise nomination took him back to last year when he made it to the Akademi Fantasia finals after a tough fight.
"I didn't expect to win then. To be a finalist was already unexpected. Now to be among the top five (in ABPBH) is already a big privilege to me. It's so surreal," he said.
This article was first published on March 25, 2016.
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