Ambassador wants to share P. Ramlee's work with Japan

Miyagawa paying tribute while Rozita (left) and Shashah offer prayers at P. Ramlee's grave. – Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Miyagawa paying tribute while Rozita (left) and Shashah offer prayers at P. Ramlee's grave. – Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Even after his death more than 40 years ago, the work of entertainment icon Tan Sri P. Ramlee still manages to attract new fans.

And one of his fans literally stumbled upon him.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa said, “I came to Malaysia in 2014 to take up the ambassador role and I wanted to go a Japanese cemetery in Penang to say a prayer.”

The cemetery is in Lintang P. Ramlee and the final resting place of a small Japanese community who lived in Penang in the late 19th century.

“It is next to a house that says Rumah Kelahiran P. Ramlee. I asked the staff at Penang’s Japanese Consulate about P. Ramlee.

“And from what I’ve gathered, he is the Leonardo Da Vinci of Malaysian arts. He sang, he acted, he directed as well as produced many songs and films in his prime.”

While watching those films and listening to the songs, Miyagawa fell in love with Getaran Jiwa.

The song was composed and sung by P. Ramlee for his 1960 film Antara Dua Darjat.

“I find the music to be soothing and the words to be very romantic.

“Since Malaysia and Japan have had good relations for the past 60 years, I believe someone should translate his films for the audience in Japan.”

For starters, Miyagawa translated Getaran Jiwa into Japanese and asked Rozita Rohaizad, P. Ramlee’s niece, to sing it.

“It took me two days to translate the song, from Bahasa Malaysia to English and Japanese. I think the song should be translated to other languages too. Not only Getaran Jiwa but his other works as well.

“I’m not doing this for profit. I think his songs should be shared around the world.”

Miyagawa wanted to meet with P. Ramlee’s heirs and that is how he got to know Rozita and another niece Shashah Hamid.

“I went to the embassy and we had a long talk. While we were discussing his songs and films, Miyagawa voiced his intentions to pay his respects to P. Ramlee,” said Shashah.

And that is how all three ended up going to visit P. Ramlee’s grave one sunny day recently.

“What Miyagawa is doing is good for bilateral relations. Rozita and I are just doing this for P. Ramlee’s sake.”

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