vendredi, juin 18, 2010

Warisan Sudirman

Disini lahirnya sebuah cinta
Yang murni, abadi, sejati
Disini tersemai cita-cita
Bercambah menjadi warisan

Inevitably, when I think of the word warisan, Sudirman Hj Arshad comes to mind. What is Hari Raya without his song Balik Kampung, Merdeka without Tanggal 31 and once in a while when you see an old basikal tua, we are lulled into a sense of nostalgia so poignant and unmistakably Malaysian, it often brings a tear to the eyes.

Eighteen years ago, we lost Sudirman, one of our country's most magical sons. He was only 37 years old. No matter what race, his fans were deeply griefed by the sudden demise of Sudirman Hj Arshad, beloved entertainer and brightest star for many years, touching the lives of many with his music and showmanship.

Now, more than ever before, I begin to understand what we lost. If P Ramlee was our legendary icon on the screen, Sudirman surely was the true voice of Malaya. For though he came into prominence in the 70s, he was a throwback of a more innocent time. Sudirman captured the longing we had for our own roots like no one else.

The truth is , the moment Sudirman stepped onto stage to perform Seruling Bambu and Hey! Big Spender at the Bintang RTM 1976 finals, a star was born. And the whole of Malaysia knew they were witnessing someone special take his place in history. Sudirman had a presence, confidence and a sense of style.

And so much more. Sometimes, we forget just how much more.

Very quickly then, Sudirman endeared himself to the public. He looked to the countryside and streets of the city for inspiration with fiery patriotism. When civil servants were urged to enhance productivity in the early 80s, Sudirman took to the air with his catchy song Punch Card! For one so young, his caring attitude was almost fatherly. He sang of the ordinary man in Hidup Sederhana (Basikal Tua), and of social issues in Aku Penganggur and Mat Disko. Songs like Anak Gembala, Balik Kampung, Apa khabar Orang Kampung and Ayah Dan Ibu bring to mind the very essense of the kampung life and everything that was wholesome and good about it.

Read these lyrics carefully...

Ayah dan ibu
Itulah permulaan kami
Dapatlah melihat bulan dan matahari
Ahai...Yang dikurniakan dari Ilahi
yah dan ibu lah mesti dihormati

He sang songs in every rhythm be it joget, all asli tunes, the ever popular disco, ballads and even dangdut, which in return appealed to a wide range of fans. He could appear melancholy, playful, patriotic – quite a chameleon in that respect. Which was of course useful in his mini videoclips in a time when MTV was still in its infancy. It was a natural progression then for Sudirman to try his hand at acting in ‘Kami’ directed by Patrick Teoh.

Sudirman reached out to the masses, regardless of age, race or stature. It is not surprising that he was an epitome of unity by making special efforts to sing in all the country’s major languages.

Sudirman made us believe that as Malaysians, we can achieve the highest of accolades – that is if we work hard enough, possess rare talent and drive to succeed. He achieved a first for himself and the country when he was named Asia’s Number One performer ahead of Anita Sarawak, who was a close friend and Leslie Cheung at the AMM awards at the famed Royal Albert Hall of London 1n 1989. It was a joyous moment for the nation and brought Sudirman international acclaim. Forever the true Malaysian, he chose to sing One Thousand Million Smiles, in itself an invitation to the world to experience Malaysian hospitality and courtesy.

The Man in a Flag
No post-80s artiste in Malaysia can truly claim to be as patriotic as Sudirman. Even before the days of revering the Jalur Gemilang, before it was even called Jalur Gemilang, Sudirman draped himself in the national flag from head to toe much to the delight of everyone. Sudirman made it fashionable in the way that only he could, with his usual aplomb and style. Today, every year on August 31, the upbeat Tanggal 31 evokes national pride and esteem more than any other song and continues to inspire younger generations who sometimes do not even know of the legendary all round entertainer, composer and prolific songwriter.

Salam Terakhir
Let us find it in our hearts to say a prayer for you, Sudir… and thank you for all the joy, the hope, the pride you gave us. We miss you – our legend, our voice, our sweet sorrow that one so young left us, that we are no longer privileged to share his sheer genius at articulating all the good in being a Malaysian.

3 commentaires:

Cat-in-Sydney a dit…

Aunty Ninot,
Take the kids to visit his grave, somewhere in Temerloh, we think. Many years ago the cemetery was under threat due to some unthinking road widening project. We hope it's still intact now. har har har *sad laughs*

ninotaziz a dit…


Kama At-Tarawis a dit…

We were in UK when Sudirman rose to prominence. By the time we got back, we were trying to cope with this new phenomenon called Sudirman! We didn't know quite what to make of him..and then we fell in love.. lock stock and barrel...

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