Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, December 17, 2004

The side stories of the hajj will have to be put aside for now. I just remembered another Zainal. This time it is the late all-rounder Dato' Zainal Alam bin Hj. Zainal Abidin whom RTM people knew and remembered fondly as Pak Alam.

My contemporaries (which would be your parents or grandparents) would remember watching Pak Alam in various filmlets made by Malayan Film Unit (now Filem Negara. Terengganu people then called the films "wayang cap rima"). This multilingual broadcaster sang the "Mother of All Election Songs", the "Undilah" song in English, Malay, Chinese (not sure what dialect) and Tamil for the country's first General Election. His other hits were "Susu" and "Rose Rose I Love You". Sports fans might remember Pak Alam as the ring MC for the Muhammad Ali- Joe Bugner fight in 1975.

Pak Alam preferred to stay in Penang and he had to refuse a number of promotions to do that. As the doyen of the regional directors, he was the man to call when advice was urgently needed. At the annual Budget Sessions with the people from Treasury, Pak Alam would be there to explain the finer points of broadcasting operations on behalf of the other directors and smoothed the proceedings in his humourous and jovial way. He would tell the other directors what terminology to use when drafting the budget. Among other things, he told us not to ask for carpets for the studios or offices. Instead, Pak Alam told us to ask for "acoustic dampening material".

Pak Alam had a lot of jokes and stories that he loved to tell. Once, after a long meeting in JB, Pak Alam exchanged jokes with me until way past midnight. He invented a lot of the Singh jokes which even our friend Santokh laughed at. I suspected that the "Drums of Malaysia" joke was also concocted by Pak Alam.


Malay Drums: (slowly) tak, tak tak un tung!

Indian Drums: ( a bit faster) kadang kadang untung, kadang kadang untung!

Chinese Drums (fast) Untung untung untung! Untung untung untung!

I last met Pak Alam just a few days before he passed away. He stopped by my house, sang the karaoke because I wanted to learn how to sing "Stardust" and then took his leave. He left us this:

(Pak Alam being interviewed)

Anchor : Apa nama anak pertama Dato' ?

Pak Alam: Oleh kerana dia anak pertama, saya bagi nama Zainal Awal- Zainal Awalludin.

Anchor: Apa nama yang bongsu?

Pak Alam: Yang bongsu ialah Zainal Akhiruddin. Sebab dia yang akhir sekali.

Anchor: Kalau ada anak lain lagi lepas ni? Apa namanya? Zainal apa pulak?

Pak Alam: Kalau ada lagi, saya kena panggil Zainal Silap lah.

I couldn't think of any other Malaysian broadcaster as big and as versatile as Pak Alam. Can you?

| 12:01 AM :: ::
28 CommentsOldStyle:
  • Interesting read; I'm very impressed with your site

    By Blogger SleekBlackMercedes, at 12:36 AM  
  • SleekBlackMercedes:
    Thank you for the compliment.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 12:40 AM  
  • hehe..still remember the 'undilah' song but not the 'susu' song though. Anyway Pok Ku, thanks for dropping by at my site :). I'm deeply honoured.

    By Blogger atiza, at 12:43 AM  
  • atiza:
    The honour is mine. So is the pleasure.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 12:50 AM  
  • despite not being your comtemporaries .. I do remember both Zainal Din and Zainal Alam .. especially Zainal Din with his bell on RMIK .. but of course I was just 7-8 years old then .. anyway am really honored for your visits to my site .. and good luck on the Blog Award .. am rooting for you .. a lot of people are .. we love you .. Go Pok Ku ... Go !


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:52 AM  
  • Thank you for the support. Win or lose, I thoroughly enjoyed myself blogging with nice people around.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 12:57 AM  
  • i remembered him only briefly when he used to host a game show of sorts on rtm in the 80s. lat used to draw cartoons of him: one of which having him as secretary-general of the UN and the other was him as a possible candidate to win the merak kayangan award (after sarimah and azean's "lihat lah dunia!").

    By Blogger kudo, at 1:51 AM  
  • dear pak ku,

    lovely entry about a msian wit. wonder if they make 'em like that anymore...

    btw, love your haj travelogue. harus dibukukan lah pak ku.

    mek yam

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:17 AM  
  • Pok Ku, LOL! As always, you are very original. You are the No.1 blog DJ !

    By Blogger Honeytar, at 6:49 AM  
  • well, these side stories on RTM personalities are also worth reading! i wonder when they are going to re-air those Pancawarna programs again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:37 AM  
  • How I wish my dad could tell me stories of his experience or the people he know during his service in PDRM. So far, I only heard about how Tan Sri Rahim Noor hit DSAI in the lockup from him. That's all.


    By Blogger Orang Kita, at 8:32 AM  
  • Pok Ku-Lagu undi tu lagu yang
    "marilah, mari, pergi mengundi,
    Jangan lupa kewajipan pada negara"

    I didn't know they have it in english.

    By Blogger Lollies, at 10:07 AM  
  • ntv7 recently had a jazz up version, but the old one is still very catchy and i cant really think of any song played only every 4 years ( or election time ) and is so well known.

    By Blogger Chief, at 10:17 AM  
  • "Drums of Malaysia" - Aiyahh... Another sign of "You are from Malaysia, when...." ah? Btw, LOL! :-)

    By Blogger hana_kirana, at 11:03 AM  
  • Pokku, my dad tunes in to RIMA when he's driving my car, and I used to switch the channel every time after he returns the car. But now sometimes I leave it as is and sing along if they spin familiar songs, even that "suuuusu...suuuuusu" song heheheh :-) *me dah mellow, signs of aging?*

    By Blogger Jie, at 11:46 AM  
  • Lol drums..
    Dua sen dari wa yang muda.

    I'm no musician,you can say tone deft..too much metallica have robbed me of tones.

    But I know one thing though while music can be produced by one instrument, a symphony is formed in unison, each instrument doing its role while complementing each other.

    My 'WISH' symphony for this Chrismas

    Tak kadang kadang Tak kadang kadang.......Fade...

    Untung Untung Untung Untung (repeat till end)

    See the difference? I don't know...even for a tone deft like me..I think i rather hear that symphony than just a singular monotonous tone...What do you think?

    By Blogger Sham, at 11:54 AM  
  • Lil Kev and Fly Guy! but they're no longer around..

    Usually (morning) tuned to;
    1) Red 104.9 - Tim/Shireena but the past few days were so boring. They had 'kick-start' finalists on the show.
    2) Hitz - the governator is so yesterday!
    3) Mix - macam mengada-ngada je.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:08 PM  
  • You remind me of the Muhammad Ali boxing event where Zainal Alam was the MC. Was that in KL? How could I forget watching boxing in the school. It was fun, and remind you, it was a black and white TV!

    By Blogger Jiwa Rasa, at 3:20 PM  
  • Haiyo Pok Ku .. I'm ketagih balik dah. Tapi bukan lagi rokok, lah ni dok ketagih baca Pok Ku punya postings tiap-tiap hari. Satu hari kalau tak dapat baca rasa kosong betui!! :p

    Was the fight a good one? I was 3 years old then, dengaq cerita orang aja laa.. :)

    By Blogger Ms.B, at 3:58 PM  
  • Hahaha... I SO remember that drum joke! The best part about it is that it clearly mirrors the popular racial stereotypes that we Malaysians (generally) have. Thanks for that Pok Ku!

    By Blogger DaisyBoo Blacksheep, at 4:10 PM  
  • Ursumade:
    Dato' Zainal Alam was really famous.
    Mek Yam:
    Not good enough for a commercial book, but thanks for the thought.
    Awwwww, thank you!
    RTM is having too much on its plate right now I think. Maybe later.
    The stories will come out of you keep on digging.
    The "Undilah" song goes like this:
    Undilah, tuan dan puan
    dua puluh tujuh haribulan
    Pilihan raya yang pertama
    Marilah, undilah bersama sama
    English version started with "Vote, vote vote.."
    Yes, old stuffs have their merits. Heheh.
    Hana Kirana:
    "Susu" on RIMA? Wow! It is not even an Asli song.
    LOL! Nice symphoney you have there.
    Can't comment. Don't listen anymore.
    Yes, it was in KL and the broadcast was in black & white in Malaysia.
    Muhammad Ali fights were always good. He won in KL.
    Yes, very Malaysian!

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 5:12 PM  
  • Pokku, I know I've said this a million times, but I really like your entries when you reminisce :)

    Blog on (Btw, I am voting for you everyday!)


    Oh, I'm also at leen-ashburn.blogspot :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 PM  
  • Leen:
    Thank you for being so kind.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 11:10 PM  
  • Saudara Bustaman, thank you for remembering Datuk Zainul Alam. I am his youngest brother (now 70). I still miss him. He was a wonderful brother. He used to test his jokes on us. If we laughed it was good one and he would use it. I still have a few of his jokes in my collection. Well done!
    Zainul Arshad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 PM  
  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger luniaz2005, at 6:47 PM  
  • nice one. datuk zainal alam is my grandfather. though, i never see him but i heard a lot about him from my dad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:06 AM  
  • My father triggered 1Malaysia way back when he sang Rose Rose I Love You. Thank you everyone for remembering Pak Alam.


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