FOR years, hers was the voice that Malaysians woke up to.
Datuk Yasmin Yusuff was a well-known radio deejay who hosted the morning show for RTM’s Radio 4 for 13 years. She would wake Malaysians up at 6am with her cheery signature greeting, “Good morning, good morning, good morning!”.
After Radio 4, she went to a few more private Malaysian radio stations to work as general manager and programme manager.
Throughout the whole time, she was still hosting the morning show, working from 5am to 9pm.
“That is the reason for the bags under my eyes until now, ” she said, adding that she was on radio for a good 18 years from the late 1980s to the early 2000s.
This former Miss Malaysia had been in the public eye as early as 1972 when she took part in RTM’s singing competition Bakat TV, which later became known as Bintang RTM. “It was Malaysia’s Got Talent, ” she recounted.
“But then I couldn’t continue in the contest as I had won the AFS International Exchange scholarship (to San Diego, California) and I had to back out.
“And people wrote in (to newspapers) and complained why the judges cast me out. But actually I had to leave because I was going to the US.”
She recalled singing two rounds in the competition. Yasmin performed P. Ramlee’s Jeritan Batinku and Son Of A Preacher Man, originally performed by Dusty Springfield.
“I entered as a trio as well, with my sister and a friend. They were, of course, upset with me as I had to leave and the trio had to break up, ” said Yasmin, who later became a recording artiste the same year she was crowned as the Miss Universe Malaysia 1978.
She has two albums under her name – Yasmin and Harapan (1980).
Besides being a recording artiste, Yasmin has also starred in films like Mekanik, Selubung, Ringgit Kasorga and Gol And Gincu. Currently, she can be seen on the reruns of the popular yesteryear drama Opah.
“So I have been in the press, well, forever. Press is like my second home.”
According to Yasmin, she loves reading the newspaper. “I think it has something to do with the fact that I sometimes am in the paper.”
And she is a regular reader of The Star.
“I enjoy having it open in front of me, going through the pages.
“I can spend hours on one newspaper, ok? Especially on Sunday.
“My husband asked ‘do you have to read every single article’, ” she said.
Even though Yasmin doesn’t appear so much in the press these days, she’s still in the public eye through Instagram where she has 10.7K followers.
She’s been updating her Instagram quite constantly. There are photos of her doing charity work with Caremongers Ampang, going golfing in the mornings, besides throwback photos and various emceeing gigs she had done.
But there is no escaping the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I had nine jobs cancelled or postponed since March last year. And then nothing for a long time. Then I had one, and another which was postponed, which got postponed again.”
After a suggestion from a friend to do “green screen emcee work”, Yasmin signed up with a company. “You can hire me to sing happy birthday or send a message to somebody.”
On March 30, she posted photos from the launch of Malaysia’s first electric car.
“After nearly 13 months, I’m blessed that my first live MC event was so much fun and historic too, ” she wrote then.
She told The Star that she felt very blessed “because I don’t really get a lot of work. But when I do, it’s always the fun ones, or the significant ones.”
Yasmin pointed out a “strange thing” she had observed about her fame.
“I have two audiences. I am one of the very few so-called celebrities in Malaysia, who have this situation. I find I am recognised across the board by all languages for different reasons.
“The Malays know me because of my acting and my singing. They all know my hit songs and all that.
“Whereas the older Chinese and English speaking audience will only know me for radio. This is strange right?
“I should be selling stuff. People should endorse me, ” she said, laughing.
Looking back at her past interviews, she once told The Star that she used to have a bad temper but has learned to keep it at bay.
Now, she talks about keeping a healthier outlook.
“If I get very upset, I do this sort of pushing away movement.
“But it’s still difficult because I’m quite a perfectionist and I always want everything to be this way.
“And so if I get bad criticism or something like that, it will eat away at me for a while, even now, when it really doesn’t matter so much anymore, because my career is no longer out there, you know. Whereas before, any bad criticism, especially in the press, oh my god, you want to retire and resign and leave the country.
“I think that, now, I would just try to ride over it. You have to acknowledge that you cannot make everyone happy. You wish you could. If I could make everyone happy, I could change the world.”