The Legendary ZAINAL ALAM

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Zainal Alam Bin Hj. Zainul Abidin was born in Georgetown, Penang, on 5th March 1926.

He began his career in broadcasting as an announcer for the British Radio Station in Penang at Jalan Burmah after setting the first wireless radio in Malaya called ZHJ in Perak Road. During the Japanese occupation of Malaya, he was made to administer the station as Radio Nippon Malaya. Soon after the British returned, he was made Station Manager and sent to England to study Broadcasting Management. Zainal Alam then went to USA to take up a Government Management Program. His coursemate friend was apparently John F. Kennedy who became the President of the United States of America. On his return to Malaya and after the 1957 independence, he was given the task of managing the entire northern states. Just as Malaysia was incorporated, he was appointed the Regional Director of Broadcasting.

Throughout his tenure, he had contributed much efforts to broadcasting not only for Malaysia but also to the Asian Broadcasting Union [ABU] and UNESCO.

The marvel about Zainal Alam is that not only he is an administrator of no-nonsense with strong stand-points, he was a man of comedy and humour apart from him being a person of great wisdom and honour. Some of his ingenious songs are Susu Mambo, Durian, Undilah, Saloma, Ibu, Oh Sayang, Bunga Malaya, the multilingual Rose Rose I Love You. A documentary on civic conciousness "The 9 Lives of Zainal Alam" was full of laughter with good messages for the people. The 'Whites' refer him as the Bob Hope of Malaysia, and the 'Blacks', Bing Crosby. He was labelled as the Minister of Mirth & Entertainment (should there be a Ministry) by an Australian Cabinet Minister.

Zainal Alam was better and lovingly known as 'Pak Alam' to his members of family. His wife is Rokiah Binti Hj. Abu Bakar. His sons are Zainal Awaluddin, Zainal Alamin, Zainal Azimat, and Zainal Akhiruddin. Two daughters are named Zabariah and the other is Zadlina. He has 21 grandchildren.

His demise on 12th December 1991 took many by surprise for he has always been that jovial, lively, and charming person one has ever come across. Today, after more than 12 years, when his name is mentioned, one would say this; "Where is he now? How can we contact him?"
......... The Legend lives on.

As a Tribute to the Man who did so much greatness for the country and to the multiraces in Malaysia, you are invited to share your thoughts and the memories of you and him on that good old yet refreshing years.