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Don't be surprised if you spot Maimunah Bagharib dancing next to you on the MRT or serenading you on the streets of Orchard Road. The 22-year-old undergrad and freelance actress is one-half of Munah & Hirzi, a wacky duo who've gained an online following for their musical spoofs and parodies.
From making fun of pop culture trends like Singaporean habits, to musical videos celebrating Christmas and Hari Raya, the two (Hirzi is Maimunah's best friend) have not been afraid to be silly and enjoy themselves while doing so. They've even roped in some very willing accomplices to join them in their comedic skits. The videos on their YouTube channel, MunahHirziOfficial, have garnered over half-a-million views so far and they also have a healthy following on Facebook.
It Started From A Series Of Dares
The inspiration for all their wacky videos came from a French movie, Love Me If You Dare, where the two main characters dared each other and that's how the story progressed, explains Maimunah. It inspired a series called 10 Dares, the duo's first production. "We posted the first video on YouTube mainly for close friends and ourselves. Little did we know it'd go viral and get unbelievably popular! 10 Dares got us featured in the papers a couple of times and on Youth.sg. We've got viewers from Malaysia, Australia Europe and America!" she shared.
"Even before the videos, Hirzi and I have been pretty loud, spontaneous and I guess, a little crazy!" says Maimunah. "10 Dares pushed us to the extreme end of our spontaniety. I'm sure I speak for the both of us when I say that the craziest things we've done were done on 10 Dares. For me, it would have to be the time I crashed the lecture at NTU, Kanye West-style. I was a little nervous right before barging in on him, but when the time came, I picked up every little piece of courage I had and marched right in. Turns out, his reaction was the opposite of what we thought it would be. He actually enjoyed it!"
Indeed, one of the fun aspects of watching their videos is watching the startled reactions of unsuspecting members of the public who have been ambushed by their camera. The guerilla nature of their videos poses some interesting questions - how do the people react to these crazy jokers breaking out into spontaneous Hindi-inspired song and dance routines, for instance? "Filming the videos is the most thrilling part of it all," Maimunah exclaims. "We do get the occasional angry or unwilling participant but hey, that's where the fun lies, right? Then there are those who are enthusiastic about participating in the things we ask them to do; this ranges from dancing, screaming or even just standing there to be our victim!"
She adds the following observation from her experience filming in public,"The thing about Singaporeans is that they enjoy watching weird things happening around the,. So most of the time when we get into our crazy antics, some would judge but many stop to watch and even take photos." The two are sometimes mistaken to be actual performers, according to Maimunah. "Filming dance sequences are fun because we tend to draw an audience and these people will sometimes react or want to join in. We love public interaction in our videos so we'd willingly invite them for a cameo."
Does Her Boyfriend Mind Her Doing All This?
How does her boyfriend react to her being a part of such productions? "We are the complete opposite," Maimunah claims. "He's the reserved, introverted sort and I'm just, well, out there! But I think that's what makes the relationship so interesting. When we're together, we naturally find a balance." She adds,"I think it's all about appreciating what the other person is, that isn't you. My boyfriend is very calm and very practical and I need that from him. Whereas, I'm outgoing and spontaneous and he needs that from me."
With personalities that are poles apart, what attracted her to her boyfriend in the first place? She explains,"I've never been a believer of the cliched "love at first sight", but I think that was what brought him and I together.I'm a little shy to talk about this but I guess what I love most about him is that he is true to himself. He doesn't pretend to be someone else and he is very direct and honest. Above all, I know he loves me for every nyonya I scare, foreign worker I annoy and random person I traumatise. Simply put, he loves me for who I am and he makes me feel complete.
With Valentine's Day on the cards, Men's Health asked Maimunah for a few tips about being a fun date.
What makes a good date?
Spontaneity is a lot of fun. I think a good date transverses the typical movie and dinner gig. Always think out of the box. Simplicity is good on some occasions but when you want to make an impression, I think a little effort goes a long way. Another important thing is being able to have an intriguing conversation - something fun and light but still gets the ball rolling. I hate being on dates where only one person is moving the conversation. It gets really awkward after a while. You just lose interest.
Define sexiness in a man.
To me, sexiness doesn’t equate to one’s physical outlook. I like a man with enough self-confidence and who takes on the world head on. It shows that he’s got determination and a direction in life. That’s uber sexy to me.
Share 3 tips to impress on a date.
a. Be real. I think it’s a complete turn off when someone pretends to be someone they’re not. It comes across really fake and it shows that you don’t like yourself enough. How are you supposed to get others to like you then?
b. Have substance. Especially when you talk. Make sure what you’re saying is not all fluff and at the end of the day, have nothing to back it up. It’s similar to being real.
c. Being comfortable is the most important thing. Dates are not that stressful as some make it out to be. I guess as long as you know yourself and keep to that, you’d appear comfortable instantly. That should be enough to impress on a date.
What’s the worst habit a guy can have?
Being too full of himself. I once knew a guy who was in love with himself, more than he loved anyone else. He would insert a compliment to himself in every single conversation we had. By the end of a few dates, I thought he was in dire need of a piece of humble pie. Being proud of yourself is good but there should always be a limit. To be honest, I quite like cocky men, but too much ego makes you come across as arrogant.
The best habit a guy can have?
Punctuality. No one likes waiting and being early gives you plus points. Nobody gets angry or cranky and you make a good impression. Shows that you’re enthusiastic to go out.
Check out more of Maimunah and Hirzi on their official YouTube channel called, um, MunahHirziOfficial.