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Good Sabah experience for Indon singer
Published on: Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Coming to Sabah for the first time was a good experience for Indonesian singer Fandy Santoso, especially when he was invited to perform for a Christmas celebration in the city.

"I like Kota Kinabalu, it is a new place and environment for me," said the 32-year-old when met during Kota Kinabalu Christmas celebration, here, recently.

"I spent some time to walk around the city prior to my performance and I notice that life here is different from Indonesia.

"In terms of food it is more or less the same, but life is more organised here.

"Plus, events like the Christmas celebration in the city is hard to see in Indonesia…furthermore, the majority in Indonesia are Muslims so it is quite hard to conduct an open celebration like this.

"Religious tolerance is also good here – a good point for Sabah."

On religious tolerance in his home country, the vocalist for pop band Kerispatih said at the end of the day, it all boils down to each individual's mindset.

"Some have good level of tolerance while there are those who are too strict with their beliefs…you also have to look at what type of people you mix with.

"Most of my friends have high tolerance and so am I. I have many Muslim friends and our relationships are good," he said.

He added that the situation can be made worse when religion and politics are mixed.

"It is very dangerous when religion is used as a political 'weapon'…as we can see in recent cases in Indonesia."

And there is no better time for Fandy to promote peace and joy than the Christmas season.

"Christmas brings joy to all Christians and it is a celebration that we waited for every year.

"We get to decorate our homes, listen to Christmas songs in malls, and these things bring happiness to us.

"It is also a good opportunity for us to meet friends whom we rarely meet," said the father of two daughters.

Christmas is also a good reminder for Fandy to give thanks to God.

"I am deeply thankful for what God has given to me in my life…from a nobody to where I am standing now – this is all by God's grace."

Just as like the previous Christmas seasons, Fandy's schedule is occupied with invitations to perform in various events.

"Since 2007, I did not spend Christmas with my family but I am home for them a day before or after Dec 25 to celebrate Christmas with them," he said.

As Kerispatih is taking a break currently, Fandy put his focus on his solo projects, mostly religious concerts and songs.

Fandy found fame when he reached the top five stage of Indonesian Idol 2007.

He was then selected as the vocalist for Kerispatih in 2010, replacing Sammy Simorangkir.

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