From Zero to Legend I

8:20 PM Iskandar Hussein 2 Comments

Going through P.Ramlee's biography through various medium (listed at the end of this article), I found lot of interesting facts about him, which if I were to blog the whole thing in this article, it is going to be a very long one. So I'm going to break this blog entry into two segments.  "From Zero to Legend I" and "From Zero to Legend II".  In "From Zero to Legend I", I will be blogging about his family, his teen life and the day he was discovered by a film director, B. S. Rajhans from Malay Film Production. While in "From Zero to Legend II", I will be blogging about his path to become a legend.  This blog is not just a story, it will highlight what are some lesson that we can learn from his biography and what clues that we can use to build our own success.

So the story begins here …

In The Beginning

It was 1925, Teuku Nyak Puteh, migrated from Lhokseumawe, Acheh and married a maiden Che Mah Hussein from Kubang Buaya, Butterworth, Malaya[1] (During those years Malaysia was Malaya, a British Occupied Land). Not until 1929, March 22, a baby was born and given a name Teuku Zakaria bin Teuku Nyak Putih @ Ramli Bin Puteh. I believe, during those days nobody realize that the baby would later become a legend and idol to various generation in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.


Source : Penang-TravelTips
He went through a normal life just like any kids during those year where he started his early education at Sekolah Melayu Kampung Jawa, then Francis Light English School in 1939 through 1941.  Later during Japanese occupation (1942-1945) in order to earn a living at the age around 13 years old he worked as an office boy at a tin production company before enrolling himself to Japanese Navy School "Kaigun Heigakkō"[2]. After the war he resume his education at Penang Free School from 1945 through 1947.

The Music

Source : Kith Kin
His fond on music started as early at the age of 13 (Based from available information), where he learnt Ukelele and Violin as his first instrument and it is said that he learned a formal music lesson from a gentlemen called Tuan Kamarudin[2].

Going through his musical historical track, I would summarized it as below:

Around 1942 or 43
  •  At the age of 13, he learned musical art with Ukulele and Violin as his early instrument.[5]

  •  Won third place in Radio Malaya Singing Contest.[3]


  • This is where, he was seen experiencing with various musical groups.
  • Performed with Orkes Mutiara.[3]
  • Performed with Pancaragam Bintang Sore.[3]
  • Performed with Sinaran Bintang Sore.[3]
  • Won Second Place in Radio Malaya Singing Contest.[3]
  • First Place in Penang Keronchong Singing Contest while performing with Pemuda Indonesia  Keronchong Party. [3]

  • Performed with Coronation Amateur Party.[3]
  • Performed with Teruna Sekampung.[3]
  • At this year he adopted the name P.Ramlee, a reversed from this @ name which is Ramlee bin Puteh.  The P means Puteh.[3]
  • Finally after 3 years of trying he gained First Place in Radio Malaya Singing Contest.[3]

  • He played with Pancaragam Mustika.
  • This year was the turning point of his musical career where he was discovered by B.S. Rajhan from Malay Film Production while doing a performance at the Malay Agricultural Show in Butterworth.  What happened after that … would be the track of the Legend where I'm going to blogged it in my next entry title "From Zero to Legend II".

Between 1942 through 1948, that's about 6 years of toil and experiments that he endure before converging to his turning point of his musical career.  There are clues from this story that I would like to share with the readers here which are:

  • It took lots of attempt, focus and consistency to achieve some result in our life.  It was shown in P.Ramlee's attempt to get the First Place in the Radio Malaya Singing Contest in 1947. We can try to apply it to our career or our workplace. Three keywords that I could extract for sharing here which are tries, focus and consistency.
  • There always a turning point in our life ... if we consistently build our success track, hold the dream and sustain the effort.  We seen his efforts at certain point after 6 years of work, been discovered by a film director from Malay Film Production.  In our career or workplace, there will be a point where we will be discovered by someone, whether within the organization or outside organization.  The keyword here is, again, consistency. We never know when the day will come. So it is important for us to sustain the effort.
  • Never stop experimenting in a new environment or new things that relates to our works or career.  We seen from this blog, that P.Ramlee performed with various musical groups.  Which suggested that, we should keep trying in various area of our career or workplace. For example, in our career, if for so long you been doing server installation, probably you might want to move into grid computing installation or probably IT project management … (this sample is what I can think of at this moment).  Another example, if in your organization, you may want to try to experience with different department, say if previously you're working on IT Operation, you may want to try Network Operation or Project Operation … which have somewhat similarity with what you do.  You never know by doing those shift you may found your most strength or someone may discover you for a better opportunity?
Hope the clues that I share with you may help you or inspire you to do something big … Have a thought to share?  Feel free to drop a comment below … Keep tuning to my next entry ..


  1. Puteh Ramlee,
  2. P.Ramlee,
  3. P-Ramlee,
  4. Imperal Japanese Naval Academy,
  5. P-Ramlee,

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  1. great article!..looking forward to read the 2nd part of it.

  2. Thanks Yus, I'm terribly sorry for not able to produce the 2nd part on the next day. I'm on travel mode so my time slot for making a new entry is quite limited. Anyway, I'm trying to make it up to you today... thanks for reading.