Legacies of P. Ramlee

Identity and Diversity
Identity and Diversity

Who is P. Ramlee? Explore the fascinating world of P. Ramlee’s artistry through films and songs, discovering his legacies that continue to inspire and unite generations.

Topic: Significant Figures
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Project at a Glance

At a Glance
Learning Objectives
Citizenship in Practice

Driving Questions

What is the relationship between P. Ramlee and the arts and culture landscape in Malaysia?

Creative Medium

Sketching and Scrapbook-making


P. Ramlee’s house


13–16 year olds

Human Resources

Subject matter experts on Tan Sri P. Ramlee and film analysis


18 hours

Relevant Subjects

Art and Design, Languages, History


  1. Understand the historical and cultural significance of P. Ramlee’s contributions to Malaysian arts and entertainment.
  2. Identify key themes and social messages portrayed in P. Ramlee’s film “Labu Labi”.


  1. Present messages from P. Ramlee’s films through various creative mediums.
  2. Develop interviewing skills by formulating and conducting interviews with teachers and community members about P. Ramlee.
  3. Communicate and collaborate during group discussion and activities.
  4. Enhance organisation and presentation skills through the final project showcase.


  1. Appreciate the importance of preserving cultural heritage and honouring local legends like P. Ramlee.
  2. Cultivate a sense of national pride and respect for the artistic achievements that have shaped cultural identity.
Suggested Activities:
  • FAMILY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD – Participants can organise a family movie night or a community screening event featuring a selection of P. Ramlee’s films, with discussions afterwards about the messages and values of the films.  
  • NEIGHBOURHOOD – Participants can collaborate with local artists or performers to organise a P. Ramlee-themed exhibition in their community.

Context and Citizenship

The life stories of significant historical figures tell us a lot about a particular time period and the evolution of certain fields. P. Ramlee is one such towering figure whose contributions have left a long-lasting impression on Malaysian arts and culture. P. Ramlee is revered as a multi-talented artiste, excelling as a filmmaker, actor, singer, and songwriter. His films and music captivated Malaysians with their blend of entertainment and thought-provoking messages that involve social issues. Despite his untimely passing at the age of 44, his legacies continue to live on through beloved classics cherished by Malaysians of all ages. 

In this project, despite the school being located on P. Ramlee Road and a stone’s throw away from P. Ramlee’s house, the students knew little about P. Ramlee and his works. Through appreciating the achievements of significant figures, especially those from our local community, we learn to understand our collective identity and heritage more deeply. 

Components of Learning

UnderstandExperienceAnalyse & ReflectAct

Activity 1 - Introduction to P. Ramlee

To get to know who P. Ramlee was and the impact he had, participants interviewed teachers in their school who were familiar with his artistic works. They discovered the films or songs by P. Ramlee that individual teachers liked and why, and then processed the findings. 

This activity also helped build participants’ interviewing skills.

Activity 2 - Personal Stories from Those Who Knew P. Ramlee

To obtain more information about his life history, participants interviewed two persons who knew P. Ramlee. They also visited P. Ramlee’s house and the adjacent gallery displaying his life and works, including music scores, lyrics, and various scenes from his films and posters. The groups shared interview findings with each other for further discussion. 

Activity 3 - Film Appreciation Workshop

In order to gain deeper insights into the works of P. Ramlee, participants attended a film appreciation workshop hosted by a local academic where they watched “Labu Labi”, one of P. Ramlee’s classic comedies, and learned to critically analyse a film.

Directed and acted by P. Ramlee, the film “Labu Labi” follows the misadventures of two servants, Labu and Labi, as they go through their daily lives under the employ of a strict boss, Haji Bakhil, while both secretly love Haji Bakhil’s daughter. The film humorously explores themes of social class and human foolishness, showcasing P. Ramlee’s signature blend of wit and heart. 

The workshop helped participants realise that strong social messages can be embedded within comedy and that these issues remain relevant today. The skills and knowledge they developed in this workshop also helped them analyse more of P. Ramlee’s films afterwards. 

Activity 4 - Data Analysis and Creative Interpretation

Based on the data collected from interviews and the film appreciation workshop, participants gained deeper insights from analysing more of P. Ramlee’s songs and films. Participants synthesised their data and prepared to share their findings in a showcase using various creative media such as sketching and scrapbook-making.

Activity 5 - “Getaran Jiwa” Showcase

The final creative outputs of each group were displayed in a project showcase for the viewing pleasure of the school community. Participants proudly presented their exhibits and answered questions from their peers and teachers

Activity 6 - Individual Reflection

Although this activity was not carried out in the original project, educators are encouraged to do so to reinforce participants’ learning.

To conclude, participants can reflect on the following:

  • Which P. Ramlee film or song did you like the most, and why do you think people still love his work today?
  • What have you learned about our country’s culture and history from P. Ramlee’s films and songs?
  • What can we do to make sure that future generations remember and appreciate P. Ramlee and our cultural heritage?

How to Adapt


Can you think of any significant local figure who is the pride of the community or has greatly influenced the development of the community? Try to identify potential sites associated with this person or sources of information about this person, such as a family member, a colleague, an academic, or the person themself.

Creative Medium

Beyond interpreting P. Ramlee’s works, consider letting participants create their own artistic project inspired by P. Ramlee such as a song, short story, painting, or even a short film.


What are some ways to deepen the participants’ learning? Consider facilitating students to discover more about local history and linking it with P. Ramlee’s life stories. They could interview local historians or local leaders.

This project was originally conducted in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Abdullah Munshi by Cikgu Clarina Anne Anthony, Cikgu Azizah bt Syed Abu Bakar, and Cikgu Aliff as part of Arts-ED’s 2017 Teacher Training Programme.