I had started thinking about this year's Merdeka project last year, as soon as "Tunku" was completed. Then, early this year when Juliana Omar suggested 2 options this year, and one of it being our most cherished Tan Sri P.Ramlee, I was elated!
Of course, we went through an exhaustive thought process on both options, but we finally agreed on P.Ramlee. Yess! We thought out various concepts and applications, and finally, based on P.Ramlee's fame on the silver screen... the "Movie Reel Tin".
For as long as I have been servicing Petronas, they have always preferred to offer "kudap-kudapan" as gifts, because, it is at the end of the day, the truly Malaysian thing. Where else in this world are you most often greeted with "Dah makan?"... :) So, whatever the gift's concept may be, it must have "kudap-kudapan".
I researched the early days' movie reel tins and decided on the 35mm, as it would provide a bigger space to fill with goodies. But actual movie reel tins were very slim, coz they were only meant to fit the movie reel. So, I searched and searched and searched some more, and with the help of friends at KerepekLa, voila!... we got the most suitable tin. And, to create an original "P.Ramlee Movie Reel Tin", a fab design was needed, and that's where Tangerine came in.
Research continued, by all parties involved, for P.Ramlee's favourite snacks, sweets, pastime...
My favourite part of all this was visiting the Pustaka Peringatan P.Ramlee. Waaa... it was his old house which had been turned into a mini museum/memorial, exhibiting all his memorabilias, trophies, awards, original transcripts... I was truly impressed and awed by the greatness of his talent. To me, he was truly out of this world. For a mere mortal to have created and achieved all that he had, during that early day and time, simply amazing...extraordinarily amazing... I can imagine what he could create now, today, with all the technology, had he lived...
My mom used to tell me about P.Ramlee, how he used to visit my late TokAyah, Ya'acub Awang, in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, during those heydays... I remember very well my mom also telling me that P.Ramlee had given a pair of his famous white shoes to my late uncle, Mat Zain Ya'acub...it became his prized possesion! And there were also visits by the fab Bangsawan Troop, Booty Suria Negara... As a child, I would listen in awe to all her stories, and dreamily imagined how wonderful it must have all been... And it was my mom who told me that one of P.Ramlee's favourite knick knack was 'asam boi', as the late primadonna Kasma Booty had once told her...
Anyway, fact finding continued, but we knew that where the great P.Ramlee was concerned, his favourite knick knacks and his movie montages alone would not suffice. We needed his music, as his music was a major core of his being. So I asked darling husband, about who owns the rights to his original songs, and he channeled me to EMI/Warner Music, whose P.Ramlee's song library would blow the mind of any P.Ramlee music enthusiast! Oh, and how great were the people at EMI/Warner, namely Hermond and Larry, coz they decided to share with us not just 5 or 6 songs as we were modestly expecting, but 24! 24 solid gold P.Ramlee songs! Woohoo!!! And, in addition to this, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) kindly contributed 6 fabulous P.Ramlee instrumentals, in their own original arrangement...all in their continued effort to promote the arts and the enrichment of music. P.Ramlee's music was presented in 2 cds, and placed nicely inside a special book which contains a brief introduction to the great legend, writeups from DFP/MPO and EMI/Warner Music, and lyrics to his 24 fab songs.
We had everything now, it was then time to package them together. Early movie reels had 6-7 holes to fit into the projector. So I decided that we should fit our tin with 6-7 items (in canisters). We already determined P.Ramlee's favourite "kudapan" to be 'asam boi', 'kacang goreng', 'rempeyek', 'keropok belinjau', 'kuih tart nenas'...and he would have 'kopi o' with all these tidbits. And, Juliana Omar also told me, from her interview with P.Ramlee's old comrade, Aimi Jarr, that P.Ramlee loved to spend his free time playing 'dam aji' (checkers). So, voila, the one last element would be 'dam aji'.
So, firstly, at the bottom of the tin, I placed the 'papan dam aji' (checker board), then arranged the 7 canisters in a circle on the checker board, and lastly the book (with the 2 cds) went at the very top, and then I closed the tin. It is "LIFO", last in first out, where when one opens the tin, he or she will first find the book, read through the brief P.Ramlee story, then jump with joy upon discovering the cds (hee hee!), and then continue to open each canister to find the yummy knick knacks, and when the canister with the checkers pieces is opened, it will lead the recipient to the checker board at the bottom of the tin. And, in a few exciting moments, the circle would be complete.
:)..... And that's how seriously I create my gifts... :)