Friday, October 26, 2012

60s Halloween Hantu Heritage: Pontianak Pop Hit

Ahmad Daud - Dendang Pontianak n Swallows. 
YouTube video by VECTORP. Terima kaseh.

 UP TO 3,300 VIEWS N 85 CHATS 

I asked Singaporeans around. If you remember Halloween do you remember the Singapore and Malaysian Pontianak? We even have a pop song about this Hantu-ween creature sung by well-known singer Ahmad Daud from the 60's. Read on.

The spirit:
It is with some trepidation that I write this post. Halloween is around the corner and I wonder if it is wise to write about spiritual beings that could be hovering around us soon since the big day is on October 31st.
'Pontianak' Legend
Most followers who read literature on ghosts and spirits are well aware what Halloween is about and those who live in the Asian region would probably be familiar with a similar theme, the Chinese with their Ghost Month or Seventh Moon Festival and the Malays and Indonesians with the Pontianak legend (from 'bunting-anak' spirits of females who die in pregnancy)  and Hantu Jerangkong stories (tall and gangling ghosts).

The pontianak [boen-ting-anak (literal) give birth to child], is a female vampire ghost in Malaysian and Indonesian myth. Also called Churel among Asian Indians.
The pontianak is said to be the spirit of a woman who died during pregnancy. Some believe that pontianak in folklore could also describe the ghost as originating from a still-born child, arising from the grave.

The city of Pontianak in Indonesia is named after this wicked creature. The ghost would haunt pregnant women, wicked husbands, children and was claimed to have haunted the first sultan who once settled there. The above picture shows one walking around lately in this city.

The Music and Movie:
Since this is a music blog I thought it would be appropriate if I discuss a popular Malay song from the mid 60s. This particular pop yeah yeah composition is relevant to the theme. It is sung by **Ahmad Daud and backed by The Swallows (yes, I sang with them before Ahmad Daud did).

Ahmad Daud with The Swallows
This song comes from the Malay movie, Pusaka Pontianak (1965) directed by Ramon A. Estella and starred Ahmad Mahmud, Saadiah, Aziz Sattar, Ibrahim Pendek, Ahmad Nesfu and Salleh Kamil. These actors and the series of Pontianak movies attracted crowds to the cinemas in the 60's.

Together with Ahmad Daud who sang the lyrics, Malay comedians Ibrahim Pendek (Shorty), Aziz Sattar and Ahmad Nesfu combined talent and lip-synced their way through Dendang Pontianak (Rhythm of the Pontianak) from the EP with similar title.

It has a twist and shake beat with do-wop backing composed by Singaporean composer/musician Kassim Masdor. Apparently this particular Pontianak film did not do well at the box office but I found the lyrics funny indeed.   The song is a humorous dedication to the Pontianak and composed in its honour.  So Horror + Humour = Halloween.
EP Sleeve Cover: Ahmad Daud with Malay comedians.
Silly and childish too but I love the 60's pop appeal of the melody especially when the three actors ham it up on screen with their solid guitars and Shadows-style antics.  

Ibrahim Pendek certainly looks lost surrounded by the drums that are larger than he is.  And with Ahmad Daud doing the vocals it certainly makes the song livelier. This man can whip up any song with his rubber face, gestures and mimicry.  By the way, the introductory bars are familiar (watch You Tube above).

Twist n Shake with Pontianak during Halloween.
The Critics:
One reader Lysha Dato Haji Ali remarked on You Tube, 'To me it's a great song. Who says the Malay do not know how to have fun. In the 60's they did.  These days, geez,  everything is way too complicated.' Another viewer said, 'Ini rockability Melayu untuk Halloween,' while a third surfer yelled, 'Bloody brilliant, best rock and roll Malay song ever recorded.

And I certainly agree. Happy Hantu Halloween everyone.

Meanings of Words:
*Hantu: a Malay word that means Ghosts.
**You can read about Ahmad Daud on the Comment page.
You Tube Video: from lurfiashelas.

26 comments:

TRANSLATION said...

Another Penangite, Ahmad Daud
(1932-2003) was a Malay singer who was active on Radio Malaysia during the 60s and 70s. He first starred in a movie called, Siapa Besar for Shaw Brothers Studios.

Later he was seen in other movies like 'Kacha Permata', 'Aksi Kuching', 'Sayang Si Buta' (but only as a guest singer for the song 'Si Manis Tujoh Belas' by The Swallows, 'Dendang Pontianak' in the horror movie, 'Pusaka Pontianak' also composed by The Swallows) and 'Permintaan Terakhir' (a Studio Merdeka film in colour).

Ahmad Daud had also cut vinyls under Panda Records, singing with Ramlie, Maria Bachok and dueting with Rahimah Rahim.

He had been a DJ with Radio Singapore and in his own 'The Ahmad Daud Show' on TV 1 RTM around the 1970s.

Ahmad Daud spoke English because he studied at the Penang Free School.

He had appeared on 'Rolling Good Times' on TV Singapore in 1994, with Julie Sudiro and the late Rahim Hamid singing 'Unforgettable' (a Nat King Cole hit).

The CD and cassette had been distributed by Hype Records sold in both Singapore and Malaysia.


JULIANA LIM said...

Hey Andy,

I was looking out for you at the esplanade retro concert two weekends ago. Brian hosted n Jerry Murad, etc were playing. Did you play too?

Best.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

No, Julia I didn't. But Ronnie and The Burns did appear as '60s All Stars' with Audie Ng (from Silver Strings), George (from Wes Cossacks), Victor Lam (Mysterians)and singer Ronnie See.

JULIANA LIM has a blog that discusses Arts and Cultural happenings in Singapore today. Check her out.

JIMMY from DECIBELS said...

Hi Andy,

Thank you and A Happy Halloween to you too :)

Also thanks for posting the wonderful videos, courtesy of Singapore Hantu Heritage Memories Project.

I must say that Ahmad Daud certainly looks dashingly handsome in the video.

Cheers!



ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Jimmy for comment and support. Always appreciate your visits and replies.

LEE YAN SAN said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks. Unfortunately, I do not know Brian Jeremiah although he is from Penang. My friend, Frankie Rozells who I believe also grew up in the same area as where Brian grew up in Pulau Tikus (where there is a Eurasian community) has sent me the utube of Brian 10 days ago:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsxc_hBwf_g

Real talented guy and to be honest that was the first time I have heard of him.

Pulau Tikus started as a small suburb which soon developed very fast. I live around there and my clinic is right at the Pulau Tikus business center so I am very familiar with the place.

There was a Eurasian community area right in Pulau Tikus and many talented musicians of Penang came from there. They were allowed to build their houses on a church land there but when Pulau Tikus developed, they were asked to vacate the area without compensation and were rather dissapointed with the church who owns the land.

This was what my friend, Frankie Rozells, who was also brought up there, told me. His parents were top musicians of Penang during the 40s and 50s and stayed there for years.

(His father played the Hawaiian guitar and mother a well known singer working in a famous night club called the "Green Parrot" in the 40s, 50s and maybe early 60s).
Cheers!
YanSan

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks again Yan San for the very informative email you sent. I have put it on the blog to show what a wonderful community and lovers of music you all are at Pulau Tikus.

I appreciate your helping me out with your knowledge and the Penang connections you have.

DAPHNE KOH, THE MOVING VISUALS COMPANY said...

Hi Andy

Good day!

Thank you for your Halloween greetings! Have a wonderful week!

Warm regards,

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Daphne for the latest news about your staff members.

Wishing you all lots more documentaries to make.

WIKIPEDIA said...

Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of its original title "All Hallows' Evening"), also known as All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31st, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows...

To read more click WIKIPEDIA above

WIKIPEDIA said...

The pontianak (Dutch-Indonesian spelling: boentianak) is a vampiric ghost in Malay and Indonesian mythology.

It is also known as a matianak or kuntilanak, sometimes shortened to kunti. The pontianak are said to be the spirits of woman who died while pregnant...

(Wikipedia connection, click above).

CHEWSTER said...

Amazing list! Didn't know that many devilish songs exists..

NOELBYNATURE: said...

In keeping with the Halloween theme and of all things sinister and spooky, Andy writes about a 60's pop song that came from the Pontianak films of the time.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a 'Pontianak' a ghost from Malay folklore often described as a vampire, but more accurately is a spirit of a female who died during childbirth.

Welcome said...

I love this song... does anyone have the lyrics. I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Welcome,

It may take a while but I might just copy the lyrics down for you.

Thanks for visiting this site.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This post has been rejuvenated on 30th October, 2016 for Twitter followers as I need to explain the folklore regarding local (Asian) spirits and the reasons why such entities exist.

Not that I believe in them myself :-)

STEPHEN HAN said...

In the 60s there were ghostly tales of the Pontianak.I remembered once people gathered around the St Anthony’s Convent to get a glimpse it of the Potianak.

JOYCE PNG said...

I saw one @ age 5. Saw the head first. Went thru the window grille. Head was slowly getting closer to me. In my mind I was thinking how did that head go thru the window grille. Next minute Two scary looking hands appeared . Was going to strangle me. Only then, I started screaming and covered my face with pillow. Everyone entered my room. This is a true story. After that incident, thanked God i never see it again.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Now Joyce that is a very scary story. Thanks for being so frank to relate it. Sometimes moments of truth can be laughed off by others. But you never can tell since there are other dimensions in this world.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Reg Mifflin
We lived in Katong, Ringwood Rd, opposite the Keramat Panjang, the grave of a Malay saint. It was believed the saint grew in his grave so one time the tukan batu chaps were extending the brickwork. One evening as I bicycled into our driveway a piece of… See More

Andy Young
Author
Reg Mifflin hi, i've heard of this keramat panjang but didn't know they extended the brickwork. good you had no hauntings at your own place. 🙂

Ken Sim
saw one pianak moie scared to go home alone as wehad somebananatrees ner my kampong home and theother horror moie orang minyak or oilyman

Andy Young
Author
Ken Sim hi, an experience many of us go through. very scary indeed. banana trees have spirits in them too. thanks for your thoughts and sharing sir.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Mohamad Reyzal Zainal
I think back old kampung days, ghost stories much more scary ever to compare now. Especially i recalled back my time when i get back from religious class at night, for sure will pass by the banana tree. This what always parents says, once you pass by the tree , dnt look left and right or even look at the tree. Just "buat bodoh" -pretending - or run as fast as you can. And also, "Beringin tree" is where "kakak" - the pontianak - always sat on the branches . Some says most scary is the orang minyak " the oily man". You even can't see him as he will camouflage himself and easily free himself once captured.
Really miss those kampung days.

Andy Young
Author
Mohamad Reyzal Zainal hi, this tale of yours is great. like the 'kalong weh-weh' a bat-like creature that hangs on trees - parents frighten children to be home before nightfall or 'magrib'. also called, 'hantu tay-tek'. thanks Reyzal. i really like your frightful tale.

Mohamad Reyzal Zainal
Andy Young

Weera Chak
Though paper mache. Its one of the best. Unforgettable in my childhood. We siblings after watching accompany each other to the toilets. Then old houses were not well lighted & the TOILET was not near either.

Andy Young
Author
Now Joyce that is a very scary story. Thanks for being so frank to relate it. Sometimes moments of truth can be laughed off by others. But you never can tell since there are other dimensions in this world.

Ch Tn
Andy Young There was also Orang Minyak - OILY MAN. Those days not so much night lighting plus frequent blackouts, very fertile for spooks and spooky tales.😟😟

Png Joyce
Andy Young yes, some don’t believe until they encounter it themselves.

Andy Young
Author
Ch Tn I like your word, FERTILE. Certain areas too on the island are fertile, lots of them i was told. in fact it's similar all over the world. there are places...


Reg Mifflin
We lived in Katong, Ringwood Rd, opposite the Keramat Panjang, the grave of a Malay saint. It was believed the saint grew in his grave so one time the tukang batu - brick layers - chaps were extending the brickwork. One evening as I bicycled into our driveway a piece of mortar fell off the end of the grave. Lamak I ran...

Andy Young
Author
Reg Mifflin hi, i've heard of this keramat panjang but didn't know they extended the brickwork. good you had no hauntings at your own place. 🙂

Reg Mifflin
😏

Philip Ioannis Chan
The scariest thing these days is announcement of electricity tariff increase. Scarier than hantu.

Andy Young
Author
Regarding the song, it became a pop hit by AHMAD DAUD in the tradition of JOHNNY LION'S DEVIL WOMAN and BLACK MAGIC WOMAN from SANTANA, which is another story.

Andy Young
Author
thanks Basanthi Seetoh

Ken Sim
saw one pianak moie scared to go home alone as wehad somebananatrees ner my kampong home and theother horror moie orang minyak or oilyman

Andy Young
Author
Ken Sim hi, an experience many of us go through. very scary indeed. banana trees have spirits in them too. thanks for your thoughts and sharing sir.

Ken Sim
andi m the only one in my family to cut downthebanana tree when the banananas ripens coz too young then o believe in spirits and the stem of banana leaf can be cut lightly to make a sound when flipped andthetrunk are soft and ez to cut

Ch Tn
Wana dress up liddat and go Trick or Treat at prominent places, maybe Istana ?

Andy Young
Author
Ch Tn hi, i don't mind. will they allow us in. the holiday isn't celebrated in SG.

Basanthi Seetoh
Ch Tn Celeb in sg estate also gd Think more fun

Ch Tn
Andy Young Frisk you for offensive items and send you to IMH🤣

Andy Young
Author
yes they would. narrow-mindedness of certain minds. thanks

Patrick Carthigasu
This awful looking creature looks as though it is smoking a cigarette.
· Reply · 3h
Andy Young
Author
hahaha. true. no smoke without fire Patrick.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Malini Rachel Fisher
Anand Nitchingham- reminds me of the Changi club in the 70s

Andy Young
Author
Why Malini, does it remind you.

Malini Rachel Fisher
Andy Young - my father was a prison officer . Every month there would be a movie at the officer’s club for families etc. I saw my first Pontianak movie there and screamed throughout the movie. 😂😂😂.

Malini Rachel Fisher
My brother will tell u the rest.

Andy Young
Author
Malini Rachel Fisher 😂That's the cutest reply since the Ambassador posting yesterday. THANKS. You screamed throughout. Hahaha.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Andy Young
You haven't met a ghost if you haven't met PONTIANAK on a lonely road in Singapore or Malaysia. Watch a Singapore guitar group sing about the Pontianak. HANTU HALLOWEEN, ASIAN STYLE.

Hiroshi Deguchi
A real cultural education to me, every place has its own strangeness.

Andy Young
HI HIROSHI, you're the first to answer this post because many other readers are either afraid - they believe - or find such stories fake - they don't believe. whatever, these are encounters we should not ignore. thanks for your comment dear sir.

Stephen Han
I like the voice of the late Ahmad Daud

Andy Young
yes Stephen, he was popular with most Singaporeans those years. sings well in English too.

Freda Hanum
Interesting Hantuloween hihihi, but couldn't hear the music properly of Ahmad Daud Andy... I remembered the very first Pontianak movie was very popular in S'pore... my mum took me to see when I was about 5, the most scariest move I've ever seen in that era.... till now I can still feel my terror feeling of my kid days.

Ericbronson Wong
I really find D film Pontianak most enjoyable n entertaining,, l saw it in Katong Odeon,, it was one unforgettable Malay movie l truly remember till dis day,,, l will watch it again for old times sake with lots of sentiments down memory lane,,thx MDF for warming up dis fifty odd years movie,,!!
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor, text that says 'DIS HALLOWEEN THE RETURN OF PONTIANAK'

Ericbronson Wong
Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

Andy Young
Hello Ericbronson, hey thanks for the additives; they are fantastically funny, not scary. Just shows the film technology those days. But i was scared too then.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

THESE READERS BELOW LIKE THE POST
THANK YOU GUYS
Yip Dick
Jalani Mohamed
Rose Khoo
Яен Ыюбишь
Sharifah Radiah Binte Ameer
Loretta Ang
Malini Rachel Fisher
Jeff Long
Freya Fran Tan
Kevin Ong
Vivien Tan
Syzygium NGADIMANianum
Juniper Chew
Kerwin Hing
Weera Chak
Kevin Quek
Terence Kessler
Sherifah Mohamad Sali
Elizabeth Clare Surin
Aziz Kassim
Reg Mifflin
Clifton Ang
Jimalifnur Mohamed
Henry Gan C K
Francis Arios

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Andy Young
You haven't met a ghost if you haven't met PONTIANAK on a lonely road in Singapore or Malaysia. Watch a Singapore guitar group sing about the Pontianak. HANTU HALLOWEEN, ASIAN STYLE.

Hiroshi Deguchi
A real cultural education to me, every place has its own strangeness.

Andy Young
HI HIROSHI, you're the first to answer this post because many other readers are either afraid - they believe - or find such stories fake - they don't believe. whatever, these are encounters we should not ignore. thanks for your comment dear sir.

Stephen Han
I like the voice of the late Ahmad Daud

Andy Young
yes Stephen, he was popular with most Singaporeans those years. sings well in English too.

Freda Hanum
Interesting Hantuloween hihihi, but couldn't hear the music properly of Ahmad Daud Andy... I remembered the very first Pontianak movie was very popular in S'pore... my mum took me to see when I was about 5, the most scariest move I've ever seen in that era.... till now I can still feel my terror feeling of my kid days.

Andy Young
Freda Hanum hi, yes some of these movies can be pretty frightening. i saw a malay bangsawan once called, MAYAT HIDUP. i couldn't sleep for many nights because the guy acting as a corpse walked round the whole audience, came to me and said, 'I will go to your house soon...' that was it. fear. he was actually wrapped in white bandages. 😟

Ericbronson Wong
I really find D film Pontianak most enjoyable n entertaining,, l saw it in Katong Odeon,, it was one unforgettable Malay movie l truly remember till dis day,,, l will watch it again for old times sake with lots of sentiments down memory lane,,thx MDF for warming up dis fifty odd years movie,,!!

Ericbronson Wong
Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

Andy Young
Hello Ericbronson, hey thanks for the additives; they are fantastically funny, not scary. Just shows the film technology those days. But i was scared too then.

Andy Young
That's MARIA MENADO, one of the prettiest ladies from the late 50's, an actress she was. I think FREDA - Freda knows lots - and you will agree.

Freda Hanum
Andy Young Thanks Andy this I cannot remember too well, but thanks for the info to you and Ericbronson, this guy Eric is fantastic, he's well equipped with knowledge of all genre of most of the superstars of the past, salute to Ericbronson too.

Ericbronson Wong
Andy Young,, thq so much for your warm compliments n kind gestures l am just doing it because D passion in me feels good exercising my memory n thoughts to friends l find genuine n sincere,, thx so much for your friendly support,, have a wonderful day n May God Always Watch Over You,,!!

Ericbronson Wong
Image may contain: 1 person

Stephen Han
Andy Young -Maria Menado was married to the Sultan Of Pahang?

Andy Young
i understand this is true from past reports but i am not sure. thanks stephen

Write a reply...

Andy Young
Thank you E. for the picture.

Ericbronson Wong
True to say She was the Queen of D Malay films in those days,, who do not know her was considered an Outsider unless they do not watch movies,, Maria Menado did her contribution to socity during D Roaring Sixties N Shall always be remembered for frightening D hell out of us really running scared with her portrayal of Pontianak,,!!

Freda Hanum
Ericbronson Wong You are really amazing, like I mentioned before you should have been an International movie director 😊🤗

Koh Sui Pang
Long time no news from Pontianak ...howdy ...

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Anand Nitchingham
Malini Rachel Fisher Terror lah u. U screamed so loud until the whole club had to shut down. Lol

Peter Chong
Strange title “HALLOWEEN”. In the 60s, almost invariably “pontianak”.
At the top end of Jalan Kemangan was a bee-hoon [noodles] factory and a Chinese temple. My family frequent that temple on weekends. I would walked down to where the present roundabout is. There was a open air cinema. After the show, we children would walk back half in fear of ghosts or pontianak.

Andy Young
Author
THANKS PETER for the location indication. It sounds familiar but I didn't know. Cinema name if you can remember please.

Peter Chong
Andy Young Oh, in 1950s, there's no name for such open air cinema. The area was just poles with canvas as walls. I think it was then ten cents for entry and you sit on the grass or your own stool. Another open air cinema was at vacant land next to Cambridge Road market. I lived nearby, Rangoon Road.

Roy Koh
Childhood trauma. Thanks to my older cousin who brought a 10 year old to see the movie.