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The Star Metro (20th Sept 2014)

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2014/09/20/Veteran-performer-still-dreams-of-the-future/

DIB Coffees of Hawaii

DIB Coffees of Hawaii www.dibcoffeesofhawaii.org Bandar Damansara Perdana (Map in Contact Page) Deaf-in-Business (DIB) Community Business Project

Mr Alfred Ho, famous blind but super-talented musician and singer is performing LIVE at DIB Coffees of Hawaii. Come and listen to songs of yesteryears..down memory-lane.. For the very first time, the deaf and blind worlds are merging together, to jointly support each other in business. Your support and presence is needed and deeply appreciated.

Date: 27 May 2012 (SUNDAY)Place: DIB Coffees of Hawaii, Bdr Damansara PerdanaTime: 7pm - 9pm Come early as seats/tables are limited. Visit Alfred's Blog and listen to some of his music:http://www.alfredhomusic.blogspot.com/


DIB project is funded and initiated by Centre for Customer Care (CCC) Malaysia / Customereyes Malaysia / GoTeams Malaysia Contact: Dr. Allen Teh (019-3523082) drallenteh@dibcoffeesofhawaii.org

I WAS THE MALAYSIAN STEVIE WONDER

The Sunday Times
Sunday, June 05, 2011,
by Tan Choe Choe


Alfred Ho in his heyday. Some avid fans dubbed him the "Stevie Wonder of Malaysia" at one time, although Alfred Ho's instrument of choice is the guitar.

Robbed of his sight at the age of three after an attack of the measles, Perak-born Ho learnt to play the guitar from a schoolmate when he was admitted into St Nicholas School for the Blind in Penang for his primary education.

As he entered adulthood, it was obvious to anyone listening that he had a beautiful voice and could do almost perfect imitations of a range of singers, including Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Engelbert Humperdink, and Pat Boone.

Although he secretly harboured hopes of becoming a full-fledged singer, Ho, coming from a practical family, enrolled for vocational training when he was 15 at the Gurney Training Centre for the disabled, where he learnt to be a telephone operator.

He also wrote to Radio Rediffusion -- one of the hottest media channels in those days -- hoping to get an audition to play a few songs on the show. "One of those people who auditioned me was Patrick Teoh. "They gave me a chance and I did a few shows with them," said Ho. Not soon after, television entered the Malaysian entertainment scene. Someone who had heard Ho on Rediffusion recommended that he participate in a show. "I was an amateur, but I felt confident enough to take part because there were people who really liked my music. "I thought I was going to be a guest artiste on some music programme. But what I didn't know was that it was actually a music contest! It was the 1971 Bakat TV, Bintang RTM now." The surprised Ho was also the only blind contestant in the singing competition. Although he didn't win, he managed to make it to the semi-finals.

As Ho took on a job with the Penang City Council as a telephone operator, he also did the rounds in pubs around town, playing his heart out, hoping that his music would be heard and appreciated. He even got to play at an Australian army base in Butterworth. "They really liked me and commented that if I were in Australia, I would have been a big hit," said Ho with a laugh.

It was during those days in the 1970s that he penned some of his own compositions, such as Train to Tennessee and Wendy's Love Song. The former is still remembered by many loyal fans. As his fan base grew, so did his confidence. Finally, he decided to quit his day job and become a full-fledged singer. "A lot of people advised me against it. "But I wanted to realise my dream."

The young Ho even dreamt of entertaining the crowds in Las Vegas. With such aspirations, he got himself a contract to play at a hotel in Terengganu. From there, he went on to play at various places in Malaysia, including in shopping complexes, before finally making Kuala Lumpur his base. In the capital, he was engaged for various private and corporate events. He was being recognised for his impressive renditions of old English songs, as well as for some of P. Ramlee's golden melodies, including Getaran Jiwa and Dengar Ini Cerita. He could also sing Mandarin, Hokkien and Thai songs. As his popularity grew, he even got the chance to join Time Highway Radio for a year as a disc-jockey.

Now at 62, Ho's life is still heavily intertwined with his love for singing and his guitar. "It seems I have always been playing the guitar and singing. "I think I will do this for as long as I can... until something happens and I am unable to sing anymore."

But chasing his dreams did not come without a price. He met a string of event organisers, who either conveniently forgot to pay him, delayed payment, or halved his pay after a performance by giving the excuse that they didn't have enough money. Many thought that he was easy prey because of his handicap. So he and his wife, Rufina, spent a considerable amount of time and effort having to chase after payments. "I don't understand... why do people want to take advantage of a blind person? We were not begging or asking for donations, just payment which had been promised."

Rufina, a clinic nurse, who often accompanied him on his gigs, was also treated badly most of the time. "Other singers had their manager's transportation, lodging and food paid. But in my case, I couldn't even get food for my wife," he lamented with a sigh.

Sometimes, he was asked to sing for very little money in exchange for opportunities "supposedly guaranteed" that he would be able to sell some albums. Ho, with the help of his wife, had managed to produce five albums throughout the years. "However, sometimes, after playing and entertaining the audience, the organiser would conveniently forget that he would help me sell some albums. So, I ended up with nothing much."

These days, the childless couple is still trying to source for opportunities to perform as rising inflation and cost of living has taken a toll on them. But being caught in the whirlwind of the digital age and the rapid growth of the entertainment industry, Ho, with Rufina, have been struggling to get his music across to the masses.

"Those days, playing in shopping complexes was cheap. But the exposure was good and opportunities for gigs were there when people saw how you performed. But now, as shopping complex managers become younger, many do not want to give me a chance because they
haven't heard of me, or my songs."

When he gave a 10-minute live demonstration on his guitar during the photo-shoot for this
article, interested shoppers immediately gathered around to listen and take photos.

Desperately trying to reach out to more listeners, Ho struggles to keep a blog, which he updates with the help of his wife. He has also opened up a Facebook account as well as a YouTube
channel, where he uploads his renditions of some easy-listening old favourites. "Although I'm not very familiar with Facebook I will also upload my videos there," he said.

Truly, this is a man who will continue to do his best, whatever the odds, for the one thing he
loves -- music.

To listen to Alfred Ho's music, go to www.nst.com.my.

Silver-tongued crooner sings songs of gold

The Star
Metro (nightlife)
Saturday December 25, 2010

THIS week, the spotlight is thrown on a veteran of the scene who has not let his disability stand in the way of musical success.

Alfred Ho, who is blind, has been one of the stalwarts of the music scene for more than three decades, wowing audiences with his laid back but powerful vocals.

Right now, fans of this veteran can catch him on Tuesday nights at the OlSkool Bistro on Jalan Gasing in Petaling Jaya.

Ho was originally scheduled to perform only during the Christmas season but the good response from the crowd will see him staying on at the outlet until Chinese New Year.

Listening to him, it is clear that he has never let his disability stand in the way of his passion and he has a wide repertoire of golden oldies to share with the crowd.

What is special about Ho is that he takes the time to have fun while performing, and he really knows how to engage the audience.

Most requests are handled promptly and he never seems to come up empty, no matter how obscure the request might seem.

One good example of this was during a recent set when a request for Fraulein by Bobby Helms was sent up to Ho.

Without skipping a beat, he hit the buttons on his drum machine and launched into the country classic without much ado.

On a typical night out with Alfred Ho, expect to hear songs by Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson and even Bread.

Ho doesn’t limit himself to the English classic though, as he has an equally wide repertoire of Mandarin and Cantonese numbers, including several classics by Sam Hui.

This week, the Christmas mood will still be in the air so expect Ho to concentrate on great Christmas songs, all delivered with flair and style.

Alfred Ho is a classic in his own right and it is good to see this veteran back in action at the pubs.

Ho begins his sets at 9.30pm at OlSkool Bistro in Petaling Jaya.

Blind singer goes online to expose his talent

Kitty Lim
Malaysian Mirror
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:54


What are dreams made of? Alfred Ho tells you that passion, perseverance and willpower are the sense of motivations he needed to pursue his dreams.

Passionate about music, Alfred has been persevering in the past 26 years to live up to his dream as a musician – where he has performed solo and acoustically with a guitar in pubs, corporate events and special occasions.

The 62-year-old man has a strong willpower to do what he loves best: - to sing to his audience.

Unfortunately, he does not have the capacity to sustain his career delivering beautiful melody to the ears of those who appreciate his talent.

Alfred is, you see, blind.

The number of jobs he used to receive has declined which he said in shopping malls, “the younger generation of managers are not appreciative of the capabilities of blind people like me.”

“They didn’t want to give me a chance,” he lamented his disappointment.

Despite being visually impaired, Alfred’s determination and musical talent make him no less capable or confident than any other ordinary fellows.

The Perak-born performer speaks loud and sings clear, sending a simple message that he will not give up hoping that someday people would listen and give him a chance to continue to perform.

Besides entertaining, there was a pleasant sense of motivation while listening to Alfred plays original songs which he had composed back in the 70s; ‘Train to Tennessee", "Wendy’s Love Song" and "Foch Avenue".

Don't judge a book by its cover. You will be surprised with the gush sense of encouragement that Alfred is able to deliver through his performance and determination to carry on a path he has chosen.

Alfred, with the help from his wife Rufina, has ventured onto the social media platform, signing up for Youtube and Facebook accounts and creating a blog to show people his singing talent.

He has recorded and uploaded as many as 108 videos within two months onto Youtube where he shared songs of Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard and several more legendary performers.

“Viewers have complained that the sceneries (of the videos) are dull. But outdoor is noisy and I want people to listen to my voice clearly,” he explained the simplicity of the home videos which they had problem with their budget to buy a recording device with good audio quality.

“Youtube is only the first step. Publicity is another hurdle I have to face before more people can get to know me,” he said adding that he lacks a manager to guide him.

Alfred said he had been approached by some interested people to help promote him, but they were never serious.

Meanwhile, he is planning to write a memoir that allows the public to understand the experiences of growing up as a disabled child.

Alfred’s ambition is to open a ‘dream cafĂ©’ where he is looking forward to entertain people with nostalgic old songs and evergreen music.

Would you give Alfred the ‘key’ to tune his dreams into reality?

Constantly looking for collaboration opportunities, Alfred can be reached at alfredho.music@gmail.com or alternatively, ring him either at 03-7984 8560 or 013-7069 800 . Writers and publishers who are interested with Alfred's story are welcome to contact him.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE WITH ALFRED HO

Saturday, 23 January 2010,

9.30 PM - Batek Bar, Royal Lake Club Kuala Lumpur

Come and listen to your favourite all-time evergreen songs.

Your chance to see him live in action!

Sightless but not blind to his rights

Malaysian Mirror
Honeymah Dylyani
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:16


He may be sightless but veteran singer Alfred Ho is not blind to his consumer’s rights.


He was sore when a music store rejected his claim for a refund.

While it was only a matter of RM100, he felt that as a customer he had the right to make the claim for an item that did not meet his requirement. So, he went to the small claims court, instead.

The court, also known as the Tribunal for Consumer Claims, on Wednesday ordered Woh Fatt Music House Sdn Bhd to give back the money to Ho, a one-time recording artiste who now sings in pubs and lounges.

Ho said he had wanted to return a guitar case he had bought from the shop and to ask for a refund, but his request was rejected.

'Those with sight can do more'

The singer, who has made albums of some self-composed songs and evergreen numbers, said he was thankful for the outcome and advised consumers who felt cheated to refer their complaints to the tribunal.

"Although I'm blind, I still came here to fight for my rights. My message here is, those with sight should be able to do more for themselves when they feel cheated," he said after the tribunal handed its decision.

Ho, currently singing at a bistro in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya, said he brought his complaint to the tribunal when Woh Fatt Music House refused to give back his money for the guitar case bought from the shop.

Company to pay within 14 days

Court president Rahazlan Affandi Abdul Rahim ordered the shop to pay back Ho after advising them to amicably settle the dispute through negotiation as the amount involved was small.

Woh Fatt Music House, which was represented by K.C.Liew, was ordered to pay back Ho within 14 days while Ho should immediately return the guitar case after receiving the payment

Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism deputy secretary-general (Consumerism and Management) Mahani Tan Abdullah said under the Consumers Protection Act, a consumer has the right to return the product if it is deemed defective and not because he or she does not like the product.

Defective goods can be returned

“Malaysian consumers should understand that they can return the good if it is defective. They can also exchange the goods with something of a similar value and not less.

“In Ho’s case it is different. He is blind and the judges have been using their discretion in awarding Alfred Ho his claims.

“Furthermore the claim is also reasonable. I do not think that the judge will side with him if he made unreasonable claims.

“In my opinion, the salesman did not explain to him accordingly. Since Alfred could not see, the salesman should be more detail in explaining the product, “ Mahani said.

She added that this case should highlight the importance of ethics in business.

"I am happy that the judge had awarded Alfred Ho’s claim because, sometimes, business people must be reminded to be more ethical in doing their business, especially with the disabled.

Tribunal Orders Music Shop To Return Blind Singer's RM100

Bernama.com
October 28, 2009

Blind singer Alfred Ho on Wednesday managed to get back his RM100 paid to a musical instrument shop after referring his case to the Tribunal for Consumer Claims Malaysia (TCCM).

Ho, who had recorded an album before, said he was thankful for the outcome and advised consumers who felt cheated to refer their complaints to the tribunal.

"Although I'm blind, I still came here to fight for my rights. My message here is, those with sight should be able to do more for themselves when they feel cheated," he said after the tribunal handed its decision.

Ho, who now sings at a club, said he brought his complaint to TCCM when Woh Fatt Music House Sdn Bhd refused to give back his money for a guitar case bought from the shop.

TCCM president Rahazlan Affandi Abdul Rahim ordered the shop to pay back Ho after advising them to amicably settle the dispute through negotiation as the amount involved was small

Woh Fatt Music House, which was represented by K.C.Liew, was ordered to pay back Ho within 14 days while Ho should immediately return the guitar case after receiving the payment.

CARRY ON ALFRED - 23RD AUGUST 2009

by Emily Gun
Malaysian Mirror

PETALING JAYA - Alfred Ho is a blogger. Reading his postings makes you realise he is an articulate man. Reading them also makes you feel despondent.

For he writes about the hurdles he – and other people like him - has to overcome in living a life as best as he can under the circumstances.

Alfred, you see, is blind.

But he has been blessed with a musical mind and has found his calling as a singer cum guitarist.


“I have been in this profession for more than 20 years now and my forte is singing the old western favourites. I also sing in several Chinese dialects, including Spanish and several languages. I mainly do the pub circuits and perform at company and wedding functions,” he wrote on his blog, which has not been updated since November 2007.

Drop by a pub sometime and if you are lucky, you might catch Alfred in action, playing a few mean tunes and getting the crowd all worked up.

You might even find old folks hitting the dance floor to do the twist, as if creaky, calcium-deficit bones are nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

His passion for singing was stoked in part by Cliff Richard, whose earlier tunes like Y'arriva, Catch me and Tell me has shaped his musical direction.

If you don’t know by now, Alfred has a penchant for singing songs from the 50s to 70s by such legends as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Elton John.

In today’s world dominated by rap, hip hop and pop fluff, such oldies still has an entrenched following.

I decided to catch him performing one night in a Petaling Jaya bistro. I went in with no preconceptions whatsoever. Guess what, I enjoyed myself enormously. He hit the right chords in my book, singing John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane, my all-time favourite. He also had me giggling to the funny nuances of a Hokkien song.

All in all, it was a great night out.

Despite all the well-meaning government and private campaigns to promote a caring society, the truth is society is made up of people who are largely self-absorbed. When you are disabled, the lack of concern and consideration shown is glaring and hurtful.

Alfred has been through the grind and knows first-hand the prejudices and discrimination he had to face as an employee and as a citizen standing up for his rights and what he perceived as social injustices.

He can rattle off a long list of employers who have been less than kindly to him over the years and who have attempted to limit his career opportunities at every turn. To him, many politicians are no better in treating those who are disabled.

Once upon a time, he had to soldier on alone. But the burden is made more bearable now with wife Rufina Baptist, by his side.

Rufina, who is partially sighted, is his pillar of strength. Alfred also finds music to be a balm that eases the pain of a blind man living a life with all its imperfections.

Despite the challenges, Alfred has not come this far to be defeated by an unfair world.

He will continue to stand up for what he believes is just and right. And he will keep on crooning the evergreens for that is his calling.

* If you are interested to have Alfred Ho drop by to jazz up the mood of your event, get in touch with him at alfredho.music@gmail.com or call him at 03-7984 8560 or 016-635 9800 .


Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2009 18:35

THE STAR (STARTWO) - FRIDAY 3RD JULY 2009

Onward, Ho!

By N. RAMA LOHAN


The road’s been rough, but Alfred Ho’s burning desire to share the gift of music continues to spur him on.

ATTEMPTING to understand renowned local musician Alfred Ho’s predicament is simply impossible. Sure, he barely has a complaint about being blind and reaps an inordinate amount of joy by simply strumming his guitar and singing to an appreciative audience … and getting paid for the joy he loves sharing with his listeners.

But for those reading this (we who are bestowed with the gift of sight), we could never fathom what it’s like to be blind. It’s not quite like walking on a nature trail for a few hours in a cave or sitting in a dark room for a few quiet moments. Psychologically, we know we are still going to be able to see once we’re in the light or the lights are switched on.


Live energy: Local musician Alfred Ho’s greatest joy has been to perform before a live audience.

Ho has had a chequered career, though, from being an upstart on RTM’s Bakat TV in the early 1970s (when Jamali Shadat officially became the nation’s best loved funnyman), through his many years plying the pub circuit, right up to his current weekly stint (every Tuesday) at OlSkool Bistro on Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The corporate circuit was a healthy source of income for the musician who turns 60 on July 9, but he has fallen on hard times. “The lack of a manager has been my setback. I can talk and perhaps sell myself, but I am not mobile. Besides, very little is about talent these days … it seems to be more about marketability. I have faith in my ability, though. I believe I am good. In fact, my new policy has been to tell myself that I am good,” he says, his spirit clearly unbroken.

A rousing rendition of The Beatles’ (he likes Paul best) Lady Madonna at the Yamaha music store in Mid Valley Mega Mall (where the picture on the right was taken) in KL was enough to have store staff, manager and customers clapping and singing along.

“Music is in my blood. I love to play the guitar … and it’s good to have an appreciative audience.”

A ex-schoolmate named Benjamin taught a then 12-year-old Ho to play the instrument. “I used to be very jealous of him,” Ho guilty admits with a smile.

Ho has had a flair for music since he was a child (he lost his sight when he was three following a bout of measles). “I used to hear old Chinese songs from my neighbour’s radio. I learned to play the harmonica, ukulele … and than I made a tin-can guitar.”

His first proper six-string – a Suzuki acoustic – was a birthday present from his late brother. “It was a good guitar; perfect for playing all those songs in the mid-60s by The Beatles and Cliff Richard.”

Ho admits that envy of these singers spurred him onto his craft. “I joined a talent-time competition in school.” He would also form his band, The Sharks, then. “We played mainly instrumentals,” he says, citing The Shadows as a particular favourite.

“Then someone got us a show at a theatre one day, and I remember my knees shaking,” he fondly reminisces.

His initial career as a telephone operator sidetracked his musical pursuit momentarily.

“It was taking a toll on me. I was playing in the pubs in Penang until 1am, then I’d have to report to work the next day at 6am ... it was really tough. But the minute I was on the bandstand, I would be alive again and just love it.”

Stints at the now defunct Rediffusion (a nod to programme manager Royston Goh and Patrick Teoh) and his semi-final qualification for Bakat TV saw his stock rise. Then there were the string of TV show appearances on variety programmes like Hiburan Malam Minggu and Serbaneka. College gigs had him reaching out to a younger audience as well.

His recording career took off after Bakat TV, though. Armed with a taste for artistes like Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Eagles, The Cascades, Connie Francis and a string of others, Ho was treated to the hallowed words, “Roll tape!”

“My first record was with Malaysian Musical Industries (MMI). My manager then, Stanley Joseph, whose father was the secretary to the minister of information then, (now Tun) Ghazali Shafie, helped me get into Bakat TV, and after that, the recording project came along. I recorded two EPs with MMI,” recalls the Perakian. The EPs included a mix of originals and covers. Some of his self-penned compositions included Train to Tennessee and Wendy’s Love Song.

Through the years, Ho has continued to record whenever opportunities have presented themselves. His greatest joy, though, has been to perform before a live audience. “It’s always nice when the audience participates,” he says appreciatively.

Perhaps there is a law of compensation at play where Ho’s blindness is concerned. While he may not be able to see, his sense of hearing and memory power are remarkable. Strum a chord on a guitar in front of him and there’s a good chance he’ll know what it is.

Ho also tried his hand at being a DJ but the short stint ended rather unceremoniously. “I would like to write a book to share some of my experiences ... good and bad, with people. I would especially like to reach out to parents of children with disabilities like blindness, and educate them on how to best care for their children and what potential problems they could face along the way,” he shares graciously.

His education may be nothing to brag about (he only completed Form 3), but Ho has some of the most irresistible and irrepressible qualities – he has the heart and stomach to do what he loves most, even when the going has been tough.

He is simply looking for opportunities to share his music.

“I play a variety of styles and am truly proud of this diversity. My talent is my product,” shares the singer, who sings in Bahasa Malaysia, various Chinese dialects, Spanish and Japanese, among others.

Ho’s requests are simple; he seeks a manager to help him with employment; he hopes to have some video footage of his performances up on the Internet, write a book to share his experiences and perhaps his most significant, to one day have a cafe of his own to perform at.

For those looking to give back, giving Ho a chance could be a worthwhile exercise in seeking inner happiness or contributing to the betterment of society. If it’s simply his music that entices, then head over to OlSkool Bistro on Tuesday nights where he waits to simply entertain.

Alfred Ho can be contacted at % 03-7984 8560 / 016-635 9800 or e-mail: alfredho.music@gmail.com