Entertainment / Miscellaneous

Al Fatihah, Latifah Omar

Sad news today as Seniwati Latifah Omar passed away.

KUALA LUMPUR: Veteran actress, Latifah Omar, 74 died today at University Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 6.19pm today.

She was admitted at HUKM about a week ago due to suffering from colon cancer.

The actress known for her films with Cathay Keris was often paired off with Nordin Ahmad.

Among her many films include Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, Hang Jebat, Jalak Lenteng, Laila Majnun, Gurindam Jiwa and Putus Sudah Kasih Sayang.

Latifah-Omar-sbg-DahliaShe was one of the great Malay primadonnas of that era. For the young generation, they should know that the movies that were made back then were actually more than movies. They are the collection of stories and tales from the malay world. Any of the younger generation now knows by heart the story of Bawang Putih Bawang Merah? And most of the malay kids these days do not know the lessons that can be learned from Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup, much less the whole story.

To all the old malay actors and actresses, singers and dancers who had brought forth and continued the legacy of tales from times long forgotten, our highest gratitude and thank you which we could never repay in a million years.

Al Fatihah.

12 thoughts on “Al Fatihah, Latifah Omar

  1. Alfateha to a natural Malay beauty, devoid of glamour and glitz. A true artist who placed professionalism above remuneration.

    Her simple and enduring charm was a reflection of the genuine Malay values of a golden era gone by.

    Together with the late P.Ramlee and S.Shamsuddin, they will be remembered as legacies of the Malay world.

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  2. Al Fatihah.

    There goes another one of the long suffering, unappreciated and exploited P. Ramlee-generation actors and actresses. Made to work for pittance on terms and conditions the Shaw Brothers and other producers of their time couldn’t care less. Yet Runme Shaw was made a Tan Sri. And P. Ramlee got it only posthumously. Only as an after thought. After the singer S.M Salim got it. And P Ramlee had many times more contributions – in quantity, variety and in pioneering spirit.

    Before that, he was not even made a Dato. Yet his contributions to the Malay cultural art forms were not only as an actor. As a singer, a composer, a film script writer, a director, a producer, a film studio pioneer as well. He started the long suffering, poor-financing Ampang studios, lacking in so many things from a reasonable range of cameras to props, voice adapting, film editing and stunt facilities.

    The man had to make do in KL after running away from unfair treatment by the film studios in Singapore. Poor man was short of money so often that his fellow actor, Aziz Satar, said in a TV documentary that P. Ramlee often had to eat only rice and egg curry. Building up further his cholesterol level that took his life in his mid forties. What a pity. What a waste of an otherwise productive and artistically prolific life. What a cruel world. What ignorance and unthinking authorities in the relevant government Ministry at that time that couldn’t be bothered about such people that they recognized his contributions to society only after he died. And after S.M Salim, who worked in the government Radio & Television department, was given recognition. And now the reverse is happening. Lesser actors, actresses, singers, comics, even cooks, are made Datos.

    The same situation was experienced by Latifah. When P Ramlee left Singapore, she was left waiting for acting parts that hardly came, ending up eking out a meager existence in Johor Bahru. There were even heart-wrenching rumours that she was on the line for a paid good time. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but she was none of that. It was just the cruel world. No doubt every human being has his/her ups and downs in life but it was much worse for film stars who had to put up with that image and found it extremely tormented when they could not.

    Conditions now are a far cry from those years and the relevant authorities are doing their bit. But let the above be a reminder to those concerned to learn how to tell diamonds from raw stones. And to polish the diamonds so that the world can appreciate their luster. As well as assist those with real talents, interests and capabilities in the local film industry.

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    • Wish there are more P Ramlees around these days. Every time passing by Jalan P Ramlee in the Golden Triangle KL, one gets to feel nostalgic about the man and his contributions to Malaysian society.

      Wonder how many people remember him now. Or if the young even know of him. Those who now get beholden to the “Yellow Culture” of the Internet, Iphone, Ipod and Laptop. Is he mentioned in any of the school text books? In the Museum or Balai Seni in the country?

      Are there any commemorations done by the relevant authorities of him and the likes of him in the last three or four decades? If not, they should do so once in a while. The kampong boy who made good. In the field of seni when Makyong was fading out, joget lambak came in, cinematography just beginning in this country. Then invaded by the Rock, the Pop and the Flip Flop.

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    • In the UK where cultural art forms are revered since the 15th century and even earlier, where Chaucer, Shakespeare etc are respected, remembered and honoured to this day, stage and film actors, singers and others have been knighted, made Lords and Dames of the realm. Especially those who have brought a lot of foreign exchange to the country from their overseas performances, records cut and movies made and sold.

      Good that the Malaysian authorities do make awards to Malaysians doing the same. Sudirman did perform in UK but unfortunately he died young and had not reached the level of achievement of Elton John and such.

      But I have reservations about foreign fellows like Shah Rukh Khan being made a Dato, as the extent of his contribution to this country is doubtful. Similarly those in the field that has not in the past been regarded as art – cooking, for example.

      I agree with the view that there must be a proper basis in the award of titles to artistes. Never mind the fact that Samad Said, the novel laureate, has “gone to the other side” and now “not quite Bersih.” So long as his award of Datoship was for his literary excellence.

      Some do get carried away with their titles, some perhaps had age carry them away. There should be a novelist writing a story entitled, “Disgruntled Old Men”.

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  3. Salam JMD,
    Acting is just another profession, using talent for a specific period and purpose.Thus it has a shelf life of its own. One must make most of the opportunities in making money and investments for old age.

    I agree that artists like Latifah Omar did not get justice in terms of monetary benefits. So current artists please take note and learn the mistakes committed by the old artists like P.Ramli and Latifah Omar.

    Alfatihah for Allahyarhamah Latifah Omar.

    Adam Bachek

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  4. “the movies that were made back then were actually more than movies” –

    Yes, they often carried messages that represent values in life, even the comedies like Tiga Abdul. They portray loyalty, comradeship, defending and fighting for the less fortunate, deriding arrogance, dishonesty, non respect for elders, for authority and law and order.

    The young these days have become cocooned with iphone, ipods, laptops and what nots, so engrossed by the electronic gadgets that it takes some effort even to get them to take meals together as a family – often the only occasions to impart good values to them.

    Then, as they grow older, they get influenced by the likes of Anwar Al Juburi and his bad examples of disrespecting the law, not admitting defeat at PRU13, completely disregarding the Peaceful Assembly Act etc.

    The authorities must continue arresting the wrong doers, shoving them into the Police lock ups and charging them in court. Movies – whether Malay or whatever – has no influence on the young these days and we need to count on the law enforcers to get them in line. Enough of Mat Rempits – one person was fighting for his life in the hospital yesterday or so after being bashed by some 20 Mat Rempits having illegal motorbike racing, high on drugs or what.

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    • Not just the Mat Rempits. Even lawyers break laws these days. Look at Bersih fellas. And one was found guilty of murdering cosmetics millionairess Sosilawati.

      Some one should produce movies about lawyers – the Bar Council. Why they even refused members’ offer to assist counting the votes at Council elections. Why no adequate notice for AGM and Council elections. Why, when taken to court, the member concerned lost. Etc, etc.

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  5. Jins Shamsuddin is still around, I think. He is another one who, like P Ramlee, tried to do his bit to create awareness and appreciation of the country’s past. He produced the film on the tragedy of Bukit Kepong. The damned communist terrorists led by Mat Indera attacking the Bukit Kepong Police Station in desolate rural Muar, killing the Policmen and burning the building during the communist terrorist period called Emergency.

    Yet, the not-so-young PAS Deputy President Mat Sabu said Mat Indera was a hero. The crazy fellow didn’t even see the film Jins Shamsuddin produced. Or maybe he saw but disregarded the facts of history, blinded by the craze for power, dancing to the tune of the racist and subversive DAP and the tsunami Chinese. And good that he lost whatever little power he had in representing the people – he was trounced at PRU13. No more Yang Berhormat title for him now. He didn’t deserve that even before, anyway. Balasan Tuhan. Balasan rakyat yang meluat melihat telatah dan mulut busuk dia. Alhamdulillah.

    Wonder if Jins Shamsuddin has been given the title Tan Sri. Better give him rather than the tsunami Chinese.

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  6. Actors and actresses of the old generation were not known to be active in politics. Jins Shamsuddin was a member of UMNO Club in UK when he was doing a Cinematography course in London. But didn’t hear much of him in politics in Malaysia.

    But now many bertudung singers sing at political party functions. Wonder if they are active in politics, sing for free and such. Or are just paid artistes..

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  7. Actors and actresses certainly can provide some good influence and service to the public. Those in Hollywood do get appointed as Ambassador of peace this and that, fulfilling useful roles in society.

    Including Clint Eastwood, making a televised, exceeded-time speech at the Republican convention during the last US Presidential elections. Many laughed at him, even Republican function organizers regretted the unrehearsed “talking to a chair” supposedly occupied by Barrack Obama. Nonetheless he had some influence on voters – in the negative sense that time.

    In this country, Michelle Yeoh has been reported trying to help out BN in the last elections. But Najib had the Chinese tsunami despite that. Perhaps more actors and actresses should participate in charity functions than there may exist at present.

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    • OK to participate at political functions or support political parties even.

      But be smart la. You support the wrong one, they might become Taliban over time, you can’t even sing, let alone dance on stage, what.

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