M. Saffri A. Manaf



Mohammed Saffri Bin Abdul Manaf (b. 3 November 1952, Singapore–) is a scriptwriter, actor, director and comedian. Much of his work has been aired on the local Malay television and radio. A bangsawan (Malay opera) enthusiast, M. Saffri has also written, acted in and directed many bangsawan productions.1

Writer and performer
More popularly known as M. Saffri A. Manaf, the multitalented artist is well loved for entertaining radio and television audiences with his witty scripts.2 His works have been featured regularly in radio programmes such as Sandiwara Radio (Radio Drama), Pentas Radio (Radio Stage), Bangsawan, Drama Dalam Syair (Drama in Poetry), Warong Mak Limah (Mak Limah’s Stall), Awang dan Sulung and Secawan Kopi (A Cup of Coffee).


In addition to radio plays, M. Saffri is also a familiar face in the local Malay television and theatre scenes.3

Early career
M. Saffri began writing in 1970, when he was 18 years old. That same year, his first script was aired on Sandiwara Radio, produced by Radio Singapura.4 He participated in workshops and performances organised by the Kelab Drama Panggong Negara, Persatuan Wanita dan Teruna (PERWANIT), 4PM and various community centres.5


In 1972, M. Saffri wrote a play for a drama festival organised by the Malay performing arts group, Sriwana, and thereafter continued to write drama scripts for stage comedies as part of a scheme under the Ministry of Culture. In 1975, his first television drama script was aired.6

M. Saffri also wrote and directed both bangsawan tradisional (traditional Malay opera) and jenaka bangsawan (Malay opera comedy).7 In 1985, Radio Malaysia Kuala Lumpur aired a four-part bangsawan that he had written.8

In addition, M. Saffri was a part-time radio presenter with the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation between 1982 and 1985. He headed the group of scriptwriters in UTV1, a Bombay-based private company that produced the first Malay sitcom for local Malay television channel, Suria.9

In 1993, together with two others, he recorded an album, Ragam Irama, that revived classic Malay songs.10 Between May 1998 and December 1999, M. Saffri wrote the script for a popular children’s television programme, Ya Alif.11

Theatre and other projects
Besides television and radio work, M. Saffri was also involved in theatre. He performed in productions by Teater Ekamatra, such as Mr Mamat Magik Melayu (Traditional Malay Medicine Man) and Impenjarament (Imprisonment), which were performed during the Singapore Arts Festival in 2004 and 2005 respectively.12 In 2006, he performed in writer Isa Kamari’s debut play, Pintu (Door),13 and in 2008, he acted in Teater Ekamatra’s black comedy, Bilik Ahmad (Ahmad’s Room).14


Besides writing regularly for Mediacorp programmes, M. Saffri has also contributed articles to local magazines, worked as a part-time drama instructor in local schools15 and conducted scriptwriting workshops for youths.16 His works are featured alongside other Malay authors in the literary anthologies published for the Malay literature syllabus. Titled Tekad (Resilience)17 and Begitulah Kata-Kata18 (Bear These Words), these two anthologies were a collaboration by National Arts Council and the Ministry of Education.19 M. Saffri has also been involved in various activities held in conjunction with the annual Malay Language Month, organised by the Malay Language Council.20 Most recently, he performed at the 2016 Singapore Writers Festival.21

Achievements
1993:
Literary Award (Merit) for Hati Seorang Ibu (A Mother’s Heart), Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura (Singapore Malay Language Council)

1995: Literary Award (Merit) for Mencari Jalan Keluar (In Search of a Way Out), Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura
1999: Literary Award (Merit) for Mencari Damai di Hati  (In Search of Inner Peace), Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura
2001: Literary Award (Merit) for Tiada Lagi Air Mata (No More Tears), Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura22
2006: Literary Award in Scriptwriting for Television Drama, for Hilang (Lost), Malay Language Council; Literary Award in Scriptwriting for Radio Drama, for Menghitung Hari (Counting the Days), Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura 23

Selected works
1972–1991: Cik Puan Ngah (Miss Ngah), Minah Anak Wayang, Kakak (Sister), Idaman kalbu (My Heart’s Desire)

1982: Raja Dangdut (King of Dangdut)
1983: Dewi Mambang
1984: Sanggul Emas (The Golden Hairpin)

1985: Jin (Djinn)
1986: Raja Kecik Besar
1987: Lanun, Lanun, Lanun (Pirates, Pirates, Pirates)24
1987: Cahaya Bintang (Starlight)25
1988:
Bunga Pak Mar Kembang Berdentum (Pak Mar’s Flower Blossom with a Burst)26
1988:
Empat Duit (Four Dollars)

1989: Celorong Celoreng27
1989: Henofifah28
1990: Shamsir Alam29

Working papers30
1981: Unsur-unsur Jenaka Dalam Drama Radio (Elements of Humour in Radio Drama)
1997: Sitcom
2005: Situasi Penulisan Drama di Singapura (The State of Writing Drama in Singapore)



Authors

Marsita Omar & Nor-Afidah Abd Rahman



References
1. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: Antologi skrip drama radio [Waves of love: Anthology of radio drama scripts]. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, pp. 266–267. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022)
2. Mohamed Pitchay Gani bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz. (Ed.). (2005). Leksikon: Direktori penulis Melayu Singapura Pasca 1965 [Lexicon: Directory of Singapore Malay writers post-1965]. Singapore: Angkatan Sasterawan ’50; National Library Board, p. 132. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.280255957 LEK-[DIR])
3. M. Saffri A. Manaf. (2006). Penglipur lara: Drama dalam dialog [Storytelling: Drama in dialogue]. Singapore: Anuar Othman & Associates Media Enterprise, p. 127. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282 MOH); Hong, X. (2006, December 28). Door leads to promising debut. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Mohamed Pitchay Gani bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz. (Ed.). (2005). Leksikon: Direktori penulis Melayu Singapura pasca 1965 [Lexicon: Directory of Singapore Malay writers post-1965]. Singapore: Angkatan Sasterawan ’50; National Library Board, p. 132. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.280255957 LEK-[DIR])
5. M. Saffri A. Manaf. (2006). Penglipur lara: Drama dalam dialog [Storytelling: Drama in dialogue]. Singapore: Anuar Othman & Associates Media Enterprise, p. 127. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282 MOH); Perwanit. (1975, February 21). Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: Antologi skrip drama radio [Waves of love: Anthology of radio drama scripts]. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, p. 266. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022) 
7. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: Antologi skrip drama radio [Waves of love: Anthology of radio drama scripts]. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, p. 266. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022)
8. Mohamed Pitchay Gani bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz. (Ed.). (2005). Leksikon: Direktori penulis Melayu Singapura pasca 1965 [Lexicon: Directory of Singapore Malay writers post-1965]. Singapore: Angkatan Sasterawan ’50; National Library Board, p. 133. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.280255957 LEK-[DIR]) 
9. M. Saffri A. Manaf. (2006). Penglipur lara: Drama dalam dialog [Storytelling: Drama in dialogue]. Singapore: Anuar Othman & Associates Media Enterprise, p. 128. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282 MOH)
10. Abd Kadir Pandi. (1993, December 2). Jangan tertawa nanti [Do not laugh later]. Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: Antologi skrip drama radio [Waves of love: Anthology of radio drama scripts]. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, p. 266. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022)
12. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2005, June 12). M. Saffri berani sahut cabaran [M. Saffri bravely accepts challenge]. Berita Harian, p. 11; Narayan, S. (2004, April 1). Get ready for the weird, wild and wonderful. The New Paper, p. 27; Impenjarament (Teater Ekamatra) [Imprisonment (Teater Ekamatra)]. (2006, March 3). The Straits Times, p. 4; Cheong, S. W. (2005, June 18). Drama behind bars. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Hong, X. (2006, December 28). Door leads to promising debut. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Tan, T. (2008, June 30). Compelling black comedy. The Straits Times, p. 48. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. M. Saffri A. Manaf. (2006). Penglipur lara: Drama dalam dialog [Storytelling: Drama in dialogue]. Singapore: Anuar Othman & Associates Media Enterprise, p. 128. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282 MOH)
16. Bengkel penulisan skrip radio/TV [Radio/TV scriptwriting workshop]. (2008, December 6). Berita Harian, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Suraidi Sipan. (Ed). (2012). Tekad [Resilience]. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Education: National Arts Council. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.288 TEK)
18. Saedah Buang. (Ed.). (2013). Begitulah kata-kata [That’s the word]. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.28 BEG)
19. Nurul Ain Razali. (2013, March 11). Karya penulis S’pura jadi bahan subjek sastera Melayu [Works of Singapore writers to be part of Malay literature curriculum]. Berita Harian. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
20. Berita Harian events for Malay Language Month. (2015, October 1). The Straits Times; Bulan Bahasa; Bulan Bahasa di Tampines gemilang [Language Month at Tampines carried out brilliantly]. (2014, September 15). Berita Harian. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

21. Pesta Penulis Singapura bertema sayang. [Singapore Writers Festival’s theme is love]. (2016, September 9). Berita Harian. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

22. Mohamed Pitchay Gani bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz. (Ed.). (2005). Leksikon: Direktori penulis Melayu Singapura pasca 1965 [Lexicon: Directory of Singapore Malay writers post-1965]. Singapore: Angkatan Sasterawan ’50; National Library Board, p. 133. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.280255957 LEK-[DIR])
23. Dewani Abbas. (2006, January 8). Saffri boleh nangis kalau tulis cerita sedih [Saffri moved to tears when writing sad stories]. Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Mohamed Pitchay Gani bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz. (Ed.). (2005). Leksikon: Direktori penulis Melayu Singapura pasca 1965 [Lexicon: Directory of Singapore Malay writers post-1965]. Singapore: Angkatan Sasterawan ’50; National Library Board, p. 133. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.280255957 LEK-[DIR]); Budiman A. R. (1984, November 20). Very funny but little substance. The Straits Times, p. 4; Haron Abdul Rahman. (1987, October 15). Roaring comedy of the pirates and princess. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Asman Siraj. (1987, November 19). The kids lapped up fairytale opera. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Kesan teknik jaya hidupkan cerita [Special effects bring story to life]. (1988, September 8). Berita Harian, p. 3; Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1988, September 22). Western tunes signal start of Malay operas. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Mohamed Pitchay Gani bin Mohamed Abdul Aziz. (Ed.). (2005). Leksikon: Direktori penulis Melayu Singapura pasca 1965 [Lexicon: Directory of Singapore Malay writers post-1965]. Singapore: Angkatan Sasterawan ’50; National Library Board, p. 133. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.280255957 LEK-[DIR]); Budiman A. R. (1984, November 20). Very funny but little substance. The Straits Times, p. 4; Haron Abdul Rahman. (1987, October 15). Roaring comedy of the pirates and princess. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Pementasan ‘Henofifah’ banyak jenaka [Staging of ‘Henofifah’ has many jokes]. (1989, November 7). Berita Harian, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
29. ‘Shamsir Alam’ – serius tapi banyak unsur lucu [‘Shamsir Alam’ – serious but has many humourous elements]. (1990, December 28). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewpaperSG.
30. M. Saffri A. Manaf. (2006). Penglipur lara: Drama dalam dialog [Storytelling: Drama in dialogue]. Singapore: Anuar Othman & Associates Media Enterprise, p. 128. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282 MOH)



Further resources
Chong, W. H. (1988, September 1). Sight and sound. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Saffri tidak duduk diam [Saffri cannot sit still]. (2008, March 16). Berita Harian, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Tuminah Sapawi. (1996, November 13). First Malay sitcom ready to cook up laughs. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Writers
Personalities>>Biographies>>Artists
Dramatists, Malay--Singapore
Arts>>Performing Arts
Arts>>Theatre>>Acting
Bangsawan--Singapore
Comedians--Singapore
Literature
Performing arts
Artists
Language and literature>>Literatures>>Austronesian and Oceanian literatures>>Malay literature
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors
Arts>>Literature>>Malay Literature