PETALING JAYA: Today’s Doodle honours Dato’ Sudirman bin Haji Arshad, DSAP, JMN, AMN, AMP, simply known to Malaysians as their beloved Sudirman.
Born the youngest of seven children in Temerloh, Pahang, on this day in 1954, Sudirman initially worked as a journalist and then an attorney before becoming one of the most popular performers in Asia, remembered for his piercing tenor voice.
Sudirman’s singing career surged after winning a contest on Bintang RTM, and he went on to top the charts in Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia. On April 15, 1986 he performed free for a crowd of over 100,000 at Chow Kit Road.
Lifted above the audience by a crane, Sudirman delivered a performance that delighted his Malay, Chinese and Indian fans.
Three years later in 1989 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Sudirman won acclaim at the Asian Popular Music Awards by singing his signature hit “A Thousand Million Smiles” as well as a rendition of “Send In The Clowns” with choreography that paid tribute to Charlie Chaplin.
That performance helped raise Sudirman’s international profile. He would go on to travel the world from Hawaii and Asia through the Middle East and Europe.
Appointed a “Singing Ambassador” by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Sudirman expanded his fan base by singing in Malay, English, Tamil, Tagalog, Korean, and a number of Chinese dialects.
He was famous for his weekly TV show, during which he would sometimes serenade a member of the audience while simultaneously sketching their portrait. His many talents included being a songwriter, author, visual artist, and actor.
He acted in the film Kami, about orphans living in Kuala Lumpur, and wrote a children’s book Taming Si Budak Pintar. With 14 albums to his credit, Sudirman received the Malaysian music industry’s Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) award.
A street is named after him in his hometown and the Sudirman Scholarship Fund was established to support performing artistes.
Happy birthday, Sudirman! You make Malaysia proud.