May 29 has been declared Hari Artis (Seniman would have been more apt). The Prime Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, officiated the launch of the said Day at the Putra World Trade Centre this morning. The new Culture, Arts and Heritage (plus Unity) Minister Y.B. Dato Seri Shafie Apdal was also present.
Why was May 29 selected to be the said Hari Artis? Well, it is the day our Seniman Agung Tan Sri P. Ramlee passed away over three decades ago. Thirty five years ago to be exact.
Wait a minute. We are celebrating his death? We mark the day he died as Hari Artis? Hmmmm...interesting concept choosing a date of a person's death for a day of celebration. Can you think of any other celebration that marks someone's death?
Do we celebrate Hari Pahlawan (Warriors' Day) on the day of a famous warrior's day of death? Do we select Hari Guru (Teacher's Day) to mark the death of Za'aba or former top educationists?
Wouldn't it better if the date selected commemorated the birth of that person instead of his death? We celebrate Maulud Nabi right? That's to celebrate the birth of our prophet Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. Come to think of it, do we celebrate the day of his kewafatan or his passing?
Whatever it is, it's been done. May 29th, the day our greatest artiste passed away, has been declared Hari Artis. So be it.