A Talent Gone, A Tribute Wasted

Siti Nurhaliza to headline RTM’s Sudirman tribute

It must be the biggest April Fool joke on the late Sudirman’s fan. How could they defile him like that?

I saw the show. Nice set, for an RTM production, and the fact that the songs are non-stop with no one giving long stupid speeches in between, as in other RTM productions, are some of the highlights.

What let me down are the artists. Sure. Sudirman was, and still is to many,
one of the biggest name in Malaysian entertainment. No one can hold a stage like
he could. His shows were all very creative with segments for everyone. Some songs for kids, songs for the masses, patriotic songs, fun love songs, and heart rendering songs that make you cry.

But at least, they could have roped in big names of today. There’s Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, of course. Ning Baizura and Misha Omar. The others? Well… Dayang Nurfaizah’s not that good but she does have a name in the scene. What made me sad and angry are those other artists… Who are they?

Some Akademi Fantasia dropouts to sing songs once touched by the greatest performer in Malaysia? The performer who at his death even Tun Dr. Mahathir, the Prime Minister then, lamented as a big loss to the nation? The performer who touched the hearts of many? Whose patriotic songs still rang today at every Merdeka? The lawyer turned entertainer whom all other artists of his era regarded as the most sincere and dedicated? The one who can sing funny tunes, happy tunes, sad tunes, children songs, folk songs, rock, jazz, R&B… the true king of pop of Malaysia that can never be replaced?

No. Even Datuk Siti Nurhaliza can’t challenge that. What more those pitiful Akademi Fantasia dropouts? They can’t even sing!

And where are those memorable tunes that touched deeply the Malaysian mass? Those tunes that resonate so well with the average guy? “Balik Kampung” – the song that every Malaysian can truly understands? “Basikal Tua” that tells the story of an average guy? Those songs that made the late Sudirman one of us? One of the people, not some glamorous high and might celebrity…

They can spend such a budget on the stage sets and all… but can’t be bothered about the quality of the singers to pay tribute to the legendary entertainer. Such a waste. Sudirman would have been sad. Remember when he had that concert at Chow Kit Road? Bringing the entertainment to the masses. He’s not “high-and-mighty”. Just “orang biasa” as he used to say… bringing smiles and happiness to the masses. No need for expensive glitzy sets for an entertaining night… “A thousand million smiles”, indeed.

When he sang “Merisik Khabar” after his divorce, he shared his grieve. And as we laughed with him in his funnier songs, we cried with him. The rendition by Misha Omar? Well.. not so bad but I don’t think anybody cried.

It is sad that on this 50th year of Merdeka, not even one of the artists performing that night can even rival the late Sudirman by half.

Well, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza rendering of the last song of the night – the last song Sudirman sang to us knowing that he is dying – that one
was good enough… almost made me cry.

Almost. When Sudirman sang that before he died, I cried…

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