US singer-songwriter and musical icon Neil Diamond, 71, just received a much-deserved star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame, joining 2,500 other Hollywood heavyweights like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson.
As others like actors Helen Mirren and James Franco, singer Jennifer Hudson and filmmaker Ron Howard gear-up to receive their stars in 2013, it got me thinking that we in Malaysia could very well do with a Walk of Fame of our own.
Local stars of the silver screen like P Ramlee, Saloma, Nordin Ahmad and AR Tompel were great actors and comedians in their day, who coloured our world albeit in black and white movies. No matter how many times their flicks were shown on telly, it drew a gleeful audience, oftentimes an endearing mix of generations as grandparents and grandkids lapped up the actors’ antics.
Our music scene is also diverse with many outstanding singers and musicians that deserve more than a fleeting tribute – guitarists Paul Ponnudorai and Terry Thaddeus come to mind as well as singers Andre Goh, Francesca Peters, Sharifah Aini, Sheila Majid and D.J. Dave – all great talents in their own right who made lasting impressions on the local music scene.
Some of us grew up with them, their music streaming into our rooms as we pulled all-nighters for our final exams. We danced to their music at school gatherings, crowded into pubs after our workday to hear them play or hummed their songs on our morning drive to work.
Like all entertainers, they had that uncanny ability of bringing us together as one community bridging languages, ideologies, race and religion. We sang along to their songs, we laughed at their movies and all was good in our lives for those few precious minutes.
So why not a more lasting tribute like a star on a Walk of Fame? In Hollywood, a special committee deliberates on the hundreds of nominations that come in every year in five categories – motion pictures, television, music, radio and theatre. The nominations are put in by the fan clubs, film studios, recording companies or even broadcasters that have an association with the nominees.
This same format could be replicated in our local Walk of Fame should we have one, to honour entertainers who have significantly contributed to our entertainment industry. It would be a simple, lasting and memorable way to recognise these powerhouse individuals rather than a quick mention in the newspapers or a one-off concert in their honour.
Already enjoying high foot traffic from a deluge of tourists who gravitate to the Golden Triangle for shopping, dining and entertainment, Bukit Bintang does seem like the ideal flashy spot to showcase Malaysia’s entertainers to locals and foreigners alike.
It would not only boost tourism, but be a talking point among the young and old as well as a novel way to let foreigners know about some of the great personalities that powered the local entertainment scene.
Besides, it’s a wonderful opportunity to make some noise when the official ‘star’ presentations are made. Think of the photo opportunities – or YouTube uploads!
So what say you? Think a Malaysian Walk of Fame at Bukit Bintang an idea worth pursuing?