Jah Lelawati



Jah Lelawati (b.1937, Medan, Indonesia–d. 2 November 1979, Singapore1), also referred to as Jahlelawati,2 was a bangsawan (Malay opera) actress3 and writer. She started by writing novels and short stories and later progressed to scripts for radio and television dramas. Jah’s involvement in Singapore’s artistic scene began as early as the 1940s and continued into the ’70s.4

Career
Jah was one of Singapore’s most popular scriptwriters for radio and television dramas during the 1950s to 1970s.5 Before the advent of television in the ’60s, her scriptwriting talent was showcased through her radio dramas. Jah’s popularity went beyond Singapore, with fans also in the neighbouring countries of Malaysia, Brunei and parts of Indonesia.6

Her dramas often had a mystery theme7 and the radio works were accompanied by special sound effects. A regular drama slot on the radio, Citra Irama, which appealed to housewives, staged some of Jah’s works. The programme aired on Radio Singapura in the early ’60s in the evening and had a repeat broadcast on Sunday morning.8

Her dramas, whether for stage, television or radio, were much sought after by producers such as Zain Mahmood, Zain Hamzah, Baseran Jumaat, Yusof Ahmad, Adnan Isa, Asmah Laili, Hashim Yusof and Hayatee Yusof. Her works were also popular with theatre producers like Shariff Medan, Ahmad Sabri and Mak Penah.9

Jah was a respected bangsawan scriptwriter. Her keen sense for a good script often got her into serious discussions with another well-known bangsawan writer, the late Ahmad Sabri. Mutual criticisms of each other’s works led to many entertaining Malay operas on the radio. The radio programme, Bangsawan Di Udara, regularly featured Jah’s bangsawan scripts.10

Besides being a successful scriptwriter, Jah also wrote novels and acted in Malay films. She wrote the novel Chinchin Kahwin (“Wedding Ring”, 194911) and acted in the film Anak Dara (“Virgin”, 1966).12 In addition, Jah was a keroncong (an Indonesian musical style) singer, with some songs produced by Ahmad Ja’afar, former leader of Orkestra Radio dan Televisyen Singapura.13

Death
Jah passed away on 2 November 1979 from breast cancer.14

Selected works
Short stories15
Setelah insaf. (1949, February 1). Mutiara, 14, 20–24
Dalia bunga berbisa. (1949, May 1). Mutiara, 7, 3–7
Tertawan di desa. (1949, August 1). Mutiara, 10, 14–16
Menemui saat yang baik. (1949, August 1). Mutiara, 11, 31–36
Rohana gadis desa yang jelita. (1950, April 1). Mutiara, 18, 8–9
Gara-gara Hari Raya. (1950, October 24). Mutiara, 24, 5–9
Dia adikku rupanya. (1948, September 11). Hiboran, 56, 27–32
Nasib seorang penyanyi. (1948, December 11). Hiboran, 69, 5–10
Masuk angin. (1952, December 16). Hiboran, 235, 11–12
Dari minggu ke minggu. (1952, April 19). Hiboran, 244, 7–10

Radio and television drama16
Mendung Cerah
Sebelum Lahit
Komidra Kepot
Cita-cita Mamat

Tinggallah sayang
Lailatul Zam Zam
Pada Hari Raya



Authors
Marsita Omar & Nor-Afidah Abd Rahman




References
1. Penulis Jah Lelawati meninggal dunia. (1979, November 3). Berita Harian, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Halaman 5 yang lain-lain ruangan 1. (1976, January 26). Berita Harian, p. 5; Kalam Hambita. (1964, April 30). Soal pileh kaseh di-Radio S’pura? Berita Harian, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Rosnah Baharudin. (2003). Gambar 11 Jahlelawati dari dunia bangsawan di Medan, Indonesia ke bidang novel and cerpen di Singapura. Wacana wanita Melayu dan sastera. Bangi: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, p. 192. (Call no.: Malay R 899.283082 ROS)
4. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: Antologi skrip drama radio. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, pp. 6–7. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022); Rosnah Baharudin. (2003). Wacana wanita Melayu dan sastera. Bangi: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, pp. 57–59, 306, 311. (Call no.: Malay R 899.283082 ROS)
5. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: antologi skrip drama radio. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, pp. 6–7. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022)
6. Karim Iskandar. (2003, June 19). M. Wari kesal tolak peluang. Berita Harian, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Mohd Raman Daud. (2002, June 1). Ilmu menulis skrip drama radio. Berita Harian, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Karim Iskandar. (2003, June 19). M. Wari kesal tolak peluang. Berita Harian, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Hadijah Rahmat, Dewani Abbas & Azhar Ibrahim Alwee. (Eds.). (2004). Gelombang kasih: Antologi skrip drama radio. Singapore: Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, pp. 67. (Call no.: Malay RSING 899.282022)
10. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1997, August 22). Pertahankan ciri keaslian bangsawan. Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Jah Lelawati. (1949). Chinchin kahwin. Singapore: Harmy. (Call no.: Malay RCLOS 899.283 JAH)
12. ‘Anak Dara’ mulai di-selenggarakan. (1966, February 26). Berita Harian, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Ensiklopedia sejarah dan kebudayaan Melayu. (1999–). (2nd Ed.). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian Pendidikan, Malaysia, pp. 1010–1011. (Call no.: Malay R 959.003 ENS)
14. Penulis Jah Lelawati meninggal dunia. (1979, November 3). Berita Harian, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Rosnah Baharudin. (2003). Wacana wanita Melayu dan sastera. Bangi, Malaysia: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, pp. 306, 311. (Call no.: Malay R 899.283082 ROS)
16. Ensiklopedia sejarah dan kebudayaan Melayu. (1999–). (2nd Ed.). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian Pendidikan, Malaysia, pp. 1010–1011. (Call no.: Malay R 959.003 ENS); Penulis Jah Lelawati Berjaya dengan cherita-nya ‘Lailatul Zam Zam’. (1971, November 2). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Hashim Yusof. (2002). Drama di radio. Singapore: Hashim Yusof, pp. 5, 7.
(Call no.: Malay RSING 791.44 HAS)

Hiboran. (1949–). Singapore: The Royal Press.
(Call no.: Malay RCLOS 059.9928 H -[UAS])

Mutiara: Cherita2 pendek bulanan yang terkemuka. (1948–). Singapore: Harmy.
(Call no.: Malay RCLOS 899.2805 M)


Rasiah Halil. (1994, February 13). Setiap Penulis alami penjedaan. Berita Harian, p. 15. 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
Dramatists, Malay--Singapore
Arts>>Literature>>Malay Literature
Arts>>Theatre>>Acting
Bangsawan--Singapore
Literature
Language and literature>>Literatures>>Austronesian and Oceanian literatures>>Malay literature
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors