Your Weekend Entertainment: Barry Manilow pays tribute to 1950’s and 1960’s


February 13, 2016

Your Weekend Entertainment: Barry Manilow pays tribute to 1950’s and 1960’s

Let us enjoy the voice and music of Barry Manilow, the composer, singer and entertainer of his generation this weekend with best wishes from us.

It was a sad visit during the Chinese New Holidays when Dr. Kamsiah came to see me in Phnom Penh. We visited the Killing Fields at Cheoung Ek (picture above) to pay our respects to those fallen Cambodians who were victims of the Khmer Rouge reign of terror. It was grim reminder of man’s cruelty to his own kind. It was just amazing that for politics we stood by as the genocide unfolded in Cambodia. That tragedy was repeated in Bosnia and Rwanda. –Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican

P.Ramlee’s Message to Dear Leader Najib Razak et.al in UMNO


August 14, 2015

COMMENT: I have decided to leave this article in Bahasa Malaysia, although my readers are not just individuals who read and understand the Malay language, which our language nationalists still dream of making into a global lingua franca. It is MP Zairil Khir Johari’s tribute to the legendary Penang born and Penang Free School educated P. Ramlee, composer, director, singer-musician and comedian.

Najib and Rosmah-The Stars in LondonThe infamous Duo

The article contains valuable and relevant political messages for our dear Leader Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor and the current crop of UMNO leaders.–Din Merican

Here is some information on the late P. Ramlee, courtesy wikipedia.org: P. Ramlee was born on the first day of the Eid festival, which fell on 22 March 1929. His father, Teuku Nyak Puteh, was a sailor from Aceh, who later married Che Mah Hussain.

He attended Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Melayu Kampung Jawa (Kampung Jawa Malay School) and Sekolah Francis Light primary schools. Next he went to the famous Penang Free School secondary school until the second World War broke out. During the Japanese occupation years in Malaysia, he continued his studies at the Japanese Navy Academy. When the war ended, he resumed his studies in Penang Free School and was very active in sports.

In 1947, he won the first place in a song competition organised by Penang Radio. seven years after his acting career started, P. Ramlee directed his first film, Penarek Becha. In 1957, he appeared in the first of his Bujang Lapok comedic films, in which he acted along with Aziz Sattar and S. Shamsuddin, and which are still popular among modern Malay film watchers. During his career he directed and acted in 66 films, and had more than 360 songs to his credit.

P RamleeThe Pride of Penang–A Man of Prodigious Talent

He returned permanently to Kuala Lumpur after years with Shaw Brothers in Singapore. His final film was Laksamana Do Re Mi in 1973. In his last song, “Air Mata di Kuala Lumpur” (Tears in Kuala Lumpur), also in 1973, the lyrics depict his crushed feelings from a series of disappointments and setbacks upon returning to Malaysia after years in Singapore.

P. Ramlee was married three times. His first marriage, to Junaidah in 1950, ended in a divorce four years later. His second marriage, in 1955 to Noorizan Mohd. Noor Menonolq, a member of the Royal family of State of Perak, ended in divorce in 1961. His last marriage was in November 1961, to Salmah Ismail, a very famous singer known as Saloma.

On 29 May 1973, P. Ramlee died at the age of 44 from a heart attack and was buried at Jalan Ampang Muslim Cemetery, in Kuala Lumpur.

In 1986, 13 years after his death, in honour of his contributions to the Malaysian entertainment industry, the P. Ramlee Memorial or Pustaka Peringatan P. Ramlee was built in his home in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. In 1982, the street Jalan Parry, in the center of Kuala Lumpur, was renamed Jalan P. Ramlee in his honour. In 1990, he was posthumously awarded the Malaysian honorific title Tan Sri, and then in 2009, the honorific title of “Datuk Amar” by Sarawak State Government. The Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, an avid fan of P. Ramlee, presented the award to his adopted daughter, Dian P. Ramlee, in a ceremony honouring veteran artists in Kuching.

On 31 October 2010, a 90-minute documentary on his life was aired on History Channel Asia. During the documentary, it was revealed that P. Ramlee’s death was a shock to the nation, and a sense of collective guilt began to spread nationwide, as prior to his death he had been discredited and rejected by his own nation,citing that he was a “has been” and that his songs and film were no longer marketable. The documentary also revealed that despite his previous success in the entertainment industry, P. Ramlee died a penniless man, having given away the last of his money to a visitor to the house whom he deemed needed the money more than he.

The P. Ramlee House is a museum situated along Jalan P. Ramlee (formerly Caunter Hall road) in Penang, Malaysia. The building is a restored wooden house that was originally built in 1926 by his father and uncle. The house had previously undergone multiple repairs before being taken over by the National Archives as an extension of its P. Ramlee Memorial project in Kuala Lumpur. Items on display at the house include personal memorabilia related to his life in Penang, and items belonging to his family.–www.wikipedia.org

Malaysia: Lessons for Najib Razak from P. Ramlee

by Zairil Khir Johari

Nama P. Ramlee sememangnya tidak asing lagi bagi kita semua. Kehadiran Seniman Agung ini dalam arena perfileman negara telah meninggalkan kesan yang sangat besar dalam dunia seni, mahupun terhadap pembangunan masyarakat Malaysia. Sehingga ke hari ini, filem-filemnya masih menjadi tontonan dan rujukan umum.

Relevan sepanjang zaman

Penderma Utama

Hal ini kerana segala apa yang ditonjolkan dalam karyanya bukan sahaja relevan sepanjang zaman tetapi juga sarat dengan nilai dan kritikan sosial yang tajam. Ambil sebagai contoh adegan daripada filem Ali Baba Bujang Lapok arahan P. Ramlee, di mana setelah watak Ali Baba yang dilakonkan Aziz Sattar kembali pulang dengan sebuah peti yang penuh dengan wang emas, isterinya langsung bertanya: “Dari mana kanda curi wang ini?” Dijawab Ali Baba: “Kanda bukan curi, kawan kanda kasi, da.” Lalu isterinya membalas: “Kawan kanda siapa? Kawan kanda siapa?” Dengan penuh kejengkelan, Ali Baba membidas: “Eh, engkau berapa banyak mahu tanya da?”

Tidak sangka pula, adegan daripada filem tahun 1961 ini masih relevan pada hari ini, lebih 50 tahun kemudian. Mungkin ramai yang boleh bayangkan adegan yang serupa dengan dialog berikut: “Oh, banyaknya duit ini. Dari mana Dato’ curi wang ini?” “Saya bukan curi, kawan saya derma, lah.” “Siapa kawan yang derma itu? Siapa kawan yang derma itu?” “Eh, rakyat ini, berapa banyak mahu tanya lah?”

Selain menggelikan hati kita, P. Ramlee juga seorang budayawan yang berpandangan jauh merentasi zaman. Beliau mampu secara kritis mengangkat pelbagai isu dalam masyarakatnya – baik persoalan kebudayaan, ketidakadilan sosial mahupun agama dan moral. Seringkali, karya-karyanya akan memberi peringatan akan kepincangan yang bakal menimpa masyarakat sekiranya sesuatu masalah tidak diatasi dengan segera atau jika masyarakat tidak melepaskan diri daripada takuk yang lama. Dalam konteks ini, filem bagi P. Ramlee bukan sekadar alat hiburan, tetapi turut menjadi alat untuk mendidik dan membuka minda masyarakat.

Citra keagamaan dalam filem P. Ramlee

Dalam kepelbagaian tema yang dibawa oleh P. Ramlee dalam filem-filemnya, tema agama, dakwah dan moral tidak kurang pentingnya. Namun begitu, kaedah pengupasan citra keagamaan oleh P. Ramlee ini tidak mengambil bentuk yang nyata. Sebaliknya, ia lazimnya disuntik melalui simbolisme yang membawa makna yang tersirat.

Misalnya, dalam filem Pendekar Bujang Lapok, sikap Wak Mustar yang memaafkan para samseng biadab yang menolaknya di jeti perahu menggambarkan salah satu elemen moral yang dituntut dalam agama. Begitu juga dengan ketiga-tiga pendekar yang dimainkan oleh P. Ramlee dan dua sahabat karibnya, Ajis dan Sudin, yang mengembara untuk mencari ilmu. Bukankah ini merupakan “jihad” yang besar dalam agama?

Kuala Lumpur 06 May 2014. Labu (M. Zain) and Labi (P. Ramlee) with a kadi (Aziz Sattar) in the movie

Keprihatinan P. Ramlee terhadap kesenjangan kekayaan antara golongan miskin dan kaya juga terserlah dalam karyanya. Dalam filem Labu dan Labi, beliau secara tajam mengkritik golongan kaya yang menindas dan tidak ikhlas dalam mewakafkan harta kepada golongan miskin. Ini dapat dilihat melalui watak Haji Bakhil yang mempunyai agenda tersembunyi sewaktu beliau mendermakan harta kepada rumah anak-anak yatim. Kritikan terhadap sikap tamak golongan kaya turut boleh dilihat dalam filem Tiga Abdul, apabila watak Sadiq Sigaraga, seorang saudagar kaya, telah jatuh miskin akibat daripada kerakusannya. Pada penghujung ceritanya, watak protaganis, iaitu Abdul Wahub, kemudian mendermakan rumah kedai kepada anak-anak yatim, lantas menampilkan elemen kebajikan dan tanggungjawab sosial.

Kehidupan masyarakat Melayu suatu ketika dahulu yang sangat kuat bersandar kepada unsur-unsur tahayul juga turut dikritik oleh P. Ramlee. Dalam satu adegan dalam filem Seniman Bujang Lapok, P. Ramlee memerlukan wang sebanyak RM350 untuk berkahwin, sedangkan beliau pada waktu itu sedang mengalami kesempitan wang. Lalu, Sudin memberikan Ramlee sebentuk cincin yang menurutnya memiliki hikmat. Cincin itu digunakan oleh Ramlee untuk meminta wang daripada  seorang pengurus syarikat filem yang bernama Kemat Hassan. Namun, Ramlee disergah oleh Kemat Hassan dan hanya mendapat RM5. Kecewa, Ramlee bertindak membuang “cincin hikmat” itu ke dalam longkang.

Babak ini memberi pengajaran bahawa apa sahaja yang ingin dicapai oleh manusia haruslah dilakukan dengan usaha yang keras. Penyandaran terhadap elemen-elemen tahayul bukan sahaja ditegah dalam agama, malah ia juga mampu menjadi penghadang kepada kemajuan masyarakat.

P. Ramlee sebagai pendakwah

Kepekaan P. Ramlee terhadap persoalan agama dan moral dalam filem-filemnya menjelaskan bahawa agama bagi beliau bukanlah alat untuk melemah dan memundurkan masyarakat. Sebaliknya, ia merupakan sumber untuk menggerakkan masyarakat dalam pelbagai sektor kehidupan.

Bagi P. Ramlee, agama juga bukanlah suatu alat untuk menghukum, sepertimana yang difahami oleh ramai daripada kita pada hari ini. Beliau lebih suka menampilkan citra agama yang progresif dan bertoleransi terhadap kerencaman masyarakat kita yang berlatarbelakangkan pelbagai kaum dan budaya. Alangkah baiknya sekiranya kita dapat mengiktibarkan cara pandang dunia P. Ramlee ini.

Akhir kata, P. Ramlee tidak melakukan dakwah melalui cara-cara yang biasa, umpamanya melalui penonjolan imej-imej kewarakan yang jelas lebih mementingkan bentuk daripada isi. Jika diteliti karya P. Ramlee, jelas beliau memilih untuk berdakwah melalui jenaka dan budaya popular yang halus bentuknya tetapi tajam kesannya. Isu-isu yang diketengahkan pula berkisar pada kepentingan ummah, kedaifan golongan miskin serta penindasan terhadap yang lemah. Dalam cara tersendirinya, P. Ramlee sebenarnya menzahirkan nilai-nilai agama yang sebenar.

Sesungguhnya, sumbangan P. Ramlee adalah sangat besar kepada kita semua. Walaupun sejarah akan selama-lamanya mengingati beliau sebagai seorang seniman dan budayawan yang tersohor, jelas usaha-usaha beliau sebenarnya menjangkaui batasan seni dan budaya. Malah, jasa dan baktinya dalam memajukan citra agama yang berjiwa besar dan progresif juga jelas melayakkan beliau untuk digelar sebagai seorang pendakwah. – Roketkini.com

 *Penulis adalah Ahli Parlimen Bukit Bendera

Your Weekend Entertainment By The Mekong


August 8, 2015

Your Weekend Entertainment By The Mekong

Crazy politics continues in Malaysia. Our Leader is concerned about Kamsiah and Din 2015 CNYhis own political survival to worry about the state of our country and the substantial drop in the Ringgit -US Dollar exchange rate which has now breached the Rm4.0 mark, the lowest in 17 years.

Let us not delude ourselves. Our country is deep trouble  because we do not get our politics right and what is worse is that our country is corrupt and dysfunctional. For this, we must thank Prime Minister for leading us into the dumps, all in a space of 6 years+ (since 2009).

Our foreign reserves are  being depleted as Bank Negara Malaysia intervenes to support our currency. Our Minister of Tourism, Sdr. Nazri Aziz thinks the weak ringgit is great for tourism. Hey, big spending Chinese are not coming even if you fly them free of charge (with hotel and meals included) by MAS to Malaysia because they are fed up with the way we are handling MH370 tragedy.

Be as it may, let us enjoy our weekend since we know in our hearts that the days of the Najib corrupt regime is about to come to an end. The noose around the Prime Minister’s neck is tightening as he tries to evade questions surrounding the Rm2.6 billion (no peanuts) that went into his personal bank accounts, thanks to generous donors, and the lingering 1MDB scandal.

luis-miguel-cuartoscuroLuis Miguel

Dr Kamsiah and I present for  your listening pleasure the fabulous and exciting voice of Mexico’s Luis Miguel. We take this opportunity to dedicate this week’s entertainment to our friend, Dentist Dr. Davids Nissan who lives in Mexico City and Luis’ fans around the world. The handsome and dynamic Miguel knows how to bring out the best of any song.

Relax and put your cares aside for this weekend. Just watch the tricks and antics of Najib Razak and his UMNO goons, especially Zahid Hamidi, Khairy Jamaluddin, Rahman Dahlan and Azalina Othman.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Bonus: Trini Lopez

Your Weekend Entertainment by The Mekong–Glen Travis Campbell


June 27, 2015

Your Weekend Entertainment by The Mekong

FCC in Phnom Penh

It is that time of the week when we all can hopefully relax after 7 days of political shadow play in Malaysia, the Land of Endless Impossibilities. As Dr Kamsiah and I promised, we bring on Glen Campbell as our guest entertainer.  We  except those who are averse to country music,can agree that Glen, who was a single handicapper in golf, joins the pantheon of the great exponents of this kind of wholesome American music like Hank Williams, Eddie Arnold, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, John Denver, and others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_country_music_performers

Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American country music singer, guitarist, television host, and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70 albums. He has sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and 1 Double-Platinum album. He has placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, and/or the Adult Contemporary Chart, of which 29 made the Top 10 and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts. Campbell’s hits include his recordings of John Hartford‘s “Gentle on My Mind“, Jimmy Webb‘s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix“, “Wichita Lineman“, and “Galveston“, Larry Weiss‘s “Rhinestone Cowboy“, and Allen Toussaint‘s “Southern Nights“.

Glen Campbell in 1975Shelter from the Storm

Campbell made history in 1967 by winning four Grammys total, in the country and pop categories.[2] For “Gentle on My Mind” he received two awards in country and western, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” did the same in pop. Three of his early hits later won Grammy Hall of Fame Awards (2000, 2004, 2008), while Campbell himself won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA’s top award as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. In 1969 actor John Wayne picked Campbell to play alongside him in the film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell sang the title song which was nominated for an Academy Award

Without further ado, here is Mr. Glen Travis Campbell in tribute for his great music and unique singing style.. –Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Let us hope this works–The Sioux  Falls Concert featuring Glen Campbell

Guest Artiste: Issac Hayes