Ramli Sarip Translates His Universe at The Petronas Philharmonic Hall

Petronas Philharmonic Hall – I suppose that my 2010 should be described as a year of first time exposures. Last Monday was one of those few first experiences, where I was given a special treat to see Ramli Sarip’s Tafsiran Alam (Wisdom of Nature) show at the Petronas Philharmonic Hall (PPH) in KLCC.

Few minutes before the show started

The show was not like the usual rock star headbanging performances where the crowd goes crazy. The PPH has a set of rules to maintain the class and exclusivity of its own. So thank God there were no weird audiences within the hall. As for Ramli Sarip, he fared quite well in adhering to the hall’s rules.

Ramli’s performance was characterized by a flux of eccentric flavours. I have this typical perception of rockstars being rowdy artistes. But Ramli Sarip altered my stance almost instantaneously.

I discovered Ramli as humble, a man who has high appreciation of Malay values and is on a spiritual quest through his artistic works.

Although the rock genre is his vocal forte, Ramli had amazingly pulled off a few traditional melodies with delirium. His duet with local peranakan antiquity Andre Goh bore the translation of our unique blend of cultural heritage assimilated for generations. Besides singing he would share snippets of his past in the music industry. Ramli has gone through a long winding road to reach where he is today. Never had he imagine of performing in a world class arena. I must say that he deserved it because of the powerful showmanship and persona that he alludes as a professional entertainer.

He would also alternately enunciate Malay proverbs that are rich of prudent values. The Malay values are full of budi bahasa (politeness) and altruism. For example, the Malays have a habit of prioritising others in the things they do. They uphold the spirit of collectivism in decision-making which does have its pros and cons. Some say that this habit causes the Malays to digress in economy as compared to the Chinese who are well ahead in terms of business. Having the sense of pity or empathy hinders them from reaping financial profits well. Then again, there still are successful Malays who are rich yet still remain full of humility.

Ramli Sarip (Courtesy of nfirdaus Photography)

Personally, Ramli’s show reminds me the beauty of the Malay language and the richness of our culture. The Malays should not be ashamed of who they are nor lose their identity in the challenging postmodern world.

Ramli Sarip also taught the audience to “rock on” with ethics. There was one time when he told the audience “rambut panjang, fikiran juga harus panjang” that having a long hair (like himself as a rocker) would mean that one should have deep thoughts in life.

His humility was well ensconced in the thankful words he chose for the end of the show;

…jika kami bintang, anda kejora….jika kami bulan, anda purnama

Before the curtains went down for that nite, he reiterated what he had said before

“Bangun pagi, kita bersihkan hati. Kita puji yang Maha Esa”

May Allah Guide him in his spiritual journey. If his lyrics are meant to inspire his fans to search for the Almighty, may it gain him all the good deeds that Allah has Destined for him.

Finally, al-fatihah to his Sweet Charity bandmate Allahyarham Syed Hassan Syed Abdullah Al-Attas who had passed away on the 29th of January 2003. Syed Hassan was one of the two of my grandmother’s younger brother. I almost cried when ‘Kamelia’ started playing. It just reminded me of him. Thank you to Ramli Sarip for that wonderful night.

Allahyarham Syed Hassan Syed Abdullah Al-Attas (on the left) and Azmeer

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