Memorabilia from local Rockstars

It all started in 1979 with Eric Clapton who wanted to chope* his regular seat by hanging his guitar over that favourite seat in the first Hard Rock Café in London.

Memorabilia donated by local rockstars to
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
[*This Asian colloquial word, coined in Singapore or Malaysia – they were once one country – simply means, to place an item on a particular spot to lay claim on it.]

The Café obliged his request so Eric Clapton’s unsigned Red Fender Lead II guitar became the first piece of rockstar memorabilia that kicked off the collection of memorabilia contributed by local and international stars to Hard Rock International.

Now Hard Rock’s archive has more than 80,000 pieces of exhibits in the world’s largest private collection of Rock and Roll memorabilia and more than 30 pieces of exhibits are displayed within Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast at various lobbies and in Sessions restaurant.

Dato' Jamal Abdillah's dark vest
In January 2019, I had the privilege to meet with Malaysian singer-songwriter, Yuna, when she contributed the first local rockstar memorabilia to Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast in the form of her blue, long velvet cardigan.

In conjunction with the Ombak Festival in July 2019, a similar event was arranged.

It was a casual gathering at the Constant Grind Coffee Bar for fans and friends to meet with four Malaysian legendary performers, Dato’ Jamal Abdillah, Dato’ Khadijah Ibrahim, Datuk Ramli Sarip and Francissca Peter, who would donate something significant of their own to the Hard Rock memorabilia collection.

Later that night, these Malaysian legends would share the same stage to perform in a charity dinner-concert dubbed, A Night with Legends, with proceeds contributed to the Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Foundation.

To have a closer look at the donated items, set up on display and for photography, I arrived early at the event area.

A hand-painted portrait of Datuk
Ramli Sarip on his black T-shirt
The plaques arranged in front shared relevant info about the donated items but I was told that 1979 Bintang RTM champion, Dato’ Jamal, decided to add his dark vest to his autographed CD, Perpisahan Tanpa Relamu, in a two-item contribution.

In celebration of her 40 years in the music industry in 2018, Dato’ Khadijah donated her Greatest Hits album in an autographed LP vinyl record, Koleksi Iklas Terbaik.

This album, which contains all her favourite songs, was clearly a collector’s item.

Singer-songwriter Datuk Ramli Sarip, fondly known as Papa Rock, contributed a T-shirt which he wore in his live performance at RTM2’s Blues Di Aidilfitri Concert on 8 June 2019.

Looking closer, I saw that this black T-shirt featured a hand-painted portrait of Papa Rock by local artist, Mohd Foad Hassan.

Of course, I could not miss admiring the glitter of the emerald-green sequined top donated by singer-songwriter, Francissca Peter, an outfit that she wore in her first gig in the United States in 1996.

Hotel GM, Clinton Lovell, warmly welcomed
the legendary performers to the event
By this time, three of the legendary performers had arrived – shaking hands and exchanging small talk with the crowd gathered in the Constant Grind – all eagerly waiting for the event to start.

Then Vibe Manager, Aaron Barnabas, who was the event Master of Ceremony, announced that we would start without Dato’ Jamal Abdillah as he was feeling unwell.

The event opened with warm words of welcome from Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast general manager, Clinton Lovell, and this was followed by a brief introduction of the donated items by each of the performers.

Datuk Ramli Sarip [Centre] with Dato'
Khadijah Ibrahim [Left] and
Francissca Peter [Right]
After a brief intro to her Greatest Hits album, Dato’ Khadijah announced that she would be singing her first hit song at the dinner-concert later that night.

She mentioned that she would be wearing an evening dress in a flowing design that used a 25-meter long fabric, which she would also donate for auction and the proceeds should go towards the Tunku Johor Laksamana Cancer Foundation.

The eloquent and charming Dato’ Khadijah even hinted about her concert planned for next year where she would perform some of the greatest hits from her 40-year collection.

No event would be complete without a photography session so cameras clicked when the legendary performers and GM Clinton were joined by Roslina Arbak, Chief Executive Officer of Desaru Development Holdings One.

To close the event, GM Clinton presented each of the legendary performers with a Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast souvenir.

Hotel GM Clinton Lovell [Left to Right] Dato' Khadijah Ibrahim, Datuk Ramli Sarip, Francissca Peter and Roslina Arbak
Once the event proper was over, the performers graciously obliged to pose for countless photos with their fans.

It was not every day that we had the privilege to meet our local rockstars so before they left to prepare for the concert that night, we should seize our opportunity to capture some precious photo mementoes!

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