As you can see he is just a normal chap
who hardly looks the type to have a fetish on his fly. So, why the name?
"I thought I would make myself stand out as most other radio deejays here use
their real names," he says. "So I gave myself a corny name that nobody
will be able to take seriously. Why this name in particular is simply because Fly
rhymes with Guy."
Another reason was no one knew his race and he wanted to stay anonymous for a while.
"I thought, who cares? I'm Malaysian. But no matter how much you want to create
a harmonious society there will be some people who'll say 'Oh, he's a Chinese or
Malay or Indian and I don't want to listen to him'. So I try to get round that factor
by having this strange name and people decide if they want to listen to me based
only on how I perform."
However, the public would not leave him alone and they bugged him so much that he
now tells anyone who asks, 'My name is Saufian Mokhtar and I'm Malay'.
Many callers were unbelieving at first because some had thought he was American.
And it isn't only his accent. Meeting him in person doesn't make it any easier to
pin down his parentage. He has the looks and complexion of a Chinese ("I spend
a lot of time in the sun," he butts in) and that's attributed to having a Chinese
Before his face made it into the print
media many people were quite curious what he looks like and he was equally curious
why they were curious. To him, that's one of the beauties of radio because a listener
can't judge the deejay by his looks but by his mind.
"If he hesitates after a question that means something, perhaps he is not so
open. So you've got to find out what kind of a person he is through what he says.
In the States there are many popular deejays who do pretty much the same stuff as
I do but when people saw what they look like they were pretty disappointed. Can you
imagine an old dude with a cigarette in his mouth and having a voice like mine?"
But there are no surprises here for if anything his voice matches his mischievous
Saufian was born in Petaling Jaya but
he spent most of his youth in the countries where his diplomat father was stationed,
among them Japan, Sri Lanka, Canada and mainly the United States. He pursued his
higher studies at Michigan and graduated with a major in Broadcast Communication
and a minor in Marketing and Graphic Design.
Pretty neat credentials for a guy who often clowns around with a gas mask.
"I wanted to be as marketable as possible," he quips.
He did some radio work in the States and after graduation, he bumped around for a
year to try to find his true inner self.
"Then I returned to Malaysia or should I say home? I've never stayed long enough
in a place to call it home. To me, it is a mind thing but I'm comfortable here."
He was interested in getting into television production but there weren't any such
job opportunities. He worked for an advertising agency and a management consultancy
before joining Radio 4. A month later, he went over to THR as an executive producer.
"Sounds nice (the title), doesn't it?"
He flashes us a wide grin.
"It encompasses a lot of areas. You're not only the on air personality but you
also do your own marketing, that is to try to solicit clients to advertise in your
show, researching, scripting, recording and about everything else that goes into
getting a programme on the air."
So don't be under the mistaken belief that he only sits in the studio and prattles
off his wacky stuff because working in a commercial station means making his shows
a success to lure more advertisers and sponsors.
The Fly Guy has gone down well with most sections of the public and he is amused
that he is one of the most popular male deejays around.
"When I first came on the air with the personality I created a lot of people
were taken aback. Some appreciated the shift from the norm but there were some who
had a lot of negative comments. They were saying, how can you do that on Malaysian
There were yet others who complained that when they tuned in to THR it was like listening
to a radio station in New York or London.
"I was going 'All right, this is great stuff. We're doing exactly what we want.'
But they say no, why can't you be Malaysian? What is Malaysian? Do you want me to
speak Malay more or what? To be more sedate in my delivery?"
He doesn't think so. He believes that today's listeners, especially the younger crowd,
are much more sophisticated. With a lot of our people going overseas for their education
they have heard what's on the air over there and they may question why Malaysians
can't do something like that.
Not for a moment does he think that
those people will like what they hear there but he believes they will see the difference
and that's what THR wants to be different, and not necessarily emulating the foreign
"We've got a younger set of deejays here and our purpose is to generate as much
revenue as we can, garner more listeners, as well as be more progressive. What's
the point of going on air and be another Radio 4 or Radio Music?"
Radio in Malaysia is in its infancy but it is changing at a fast pace. More stations
are coming up, meaning more competition but the Fly Guy is not fazed.
"It'll be interesting to hear a whole new bunch of different personalities and
a lot of them will be doing anything they can to get listeners to tune in to their
Though radio is a fledgling industry he thinks it will be some time before the deejays
here are as rich as their more popular American counterparts, some of them millionaires.
"They have ratings and they know how many people are listening in to each show.
But with more radio stations popping up, really good people will be paid top dollar
because if you can get the listeners in more than the other guy you will be able
to generate more revenue through advertisements. You become really valuable then."
As for his very American accent he defends that it is no put on act.