He would be 88 years old today, 22nd of March 2017.
P. Ramlee is without a doubt, Malaysia's most popular, much-loved, multi-talented and spiritual artist of all time. He was born on 22nd March 1929 in Penang [where all the charming and wonderful people were born, like yours truly. LOL].
He died in 1973 at the age of 44, a mere 25 years after he began his career as an actor. He was 19 years old when he first started acting. He might have started out as an actor, but he died as a popular singer, songwriter, director, and film producer.
That which he labored for 25 years (from age 19 until his passing at the age of 44) resulted in a handful of evergreen and much-cherished films, jokes and songs. It was as if he knew he would be irreplaceable, he wrote or rather gifted us Malaysians and Singaporeans with a beautiful love song - Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti. [lit: Where would I find a person who could take your place.]
I didn't regard P. Ramlee as a spiritual person until I heard it from a popular Malaysian dai'e Ustaz Don during a talk at my office. If I recalled correctly, Ustaz Don realized this to be true when he heard it from Dato Dr Afifi Al-Akiti - a highly regarded Malaysian scholar.
I also heard from Yusnor Ef who used to be close to the late P. Ramlee, how spiritual the latter was. I had the privilege of meeting Yusnor and listened to him relate lovingly the experiences he had with P. Ramlee, how he met the big star for the first time and how P. Ramlee agreed to teach him script-writing. When Yusnor narrated the way P. Ramlee spoke and carried himself, it was as if we were watching him in one of his films. It was mesmerizing and funny.
Yusnor Ef began learning script-writing from P. Ramlee in 1962 when the former was a teacher at a school in Tekong Island off Singapore. He would visit P. Ramlee's house at Cedar Avenue in Singapore after school. Yusnor Ef remembered P. Ramlee telling him how he would sometimes get stuck in his creative work, he would refer to God and would almost immediately recover his creative flow.
|Today, 22nd March 2017, Google honors P. Ramlee with a doodle|
|Yusnor Ef showed me a book he authored during my meeting with him about a month ago.|
He also wrote a book about his experiences with P. Ramlee "P. Ramlee Yang Saya Kenal"
[P. Ramlee Whom I Knew]
A cover version of P. Ramlee's (arguably) most popular song
Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti
[Where would I find one who could replace you]
Excerpts of the lyrics:
Where would I find a person who could take your place
one who is similar to you
I dread this separation and broken feeling
Where would I find one who could replace you
Might it be in the Heavens
A friend who would share my pain
and cry together