Sudirman Hj Arshad, or "Sudi" to his fans, was born in Temerloh, Pahang, to Haji Arshad bin Haji Hassan and Puan Hajjah Ramlah binti Dahlan on the 25th of May 1954.
His mother was a very active woman in politics and as a Kaum Ibu (UMNO) leader, she was involved in the independence movement for then Malaya.She is depicted in the Pahang Heroes Museum as one of the women leaders who contributed her efforts to the state and country.
She died at the young age of 33 in 1959, when Sudirman was about five years old, after a short illness.Sudirman’s father, the late Haji Arshad was a manager of the Syarikat Bas Temerloh (Temerloh Bus Company), and like his wife, was an active UMNO politician in Temerloh, Pahang. He re-married after his wife died.
Sudirman attended primary school at Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Bahagia, Temerloh and higher secondary education at Sekolah Sultan Abu Bakar (SABS) in Kuantan. He went on to do his tertiary education at University of Malaya for his law degree, and graduated with a Bachelor in Law (LL.B) in 1980.
He practiced as a lawyer after being called to the Bar, and during his singing career, he was also known as "the Singing Lawyer".
sudirman haji arshad
In his weekly television shows, Sudirman also showed his talent and ability as an artist. Many a times, he would invite one of his audiences to sit and model, while he sang a song and at the same time take out his paint brushes or art pencil, and sketch or draw the person’s profile.
At the end of the song he would have finished his sketch or painting, and the end result shown to the cameras and audience. This talent and skill in simultaneously singing and drawing is not unlike the genius and artistic talent of the popular Australian singer in the 1980’s, Rolf Harris.
Sudirman also acted in a film. He had his first (and only) film role in the film "Kami" in 1982. He took the role of a young boy in the film, and his portrayal received commendable reviews.
Besides being an accomplished singer he was also a good writer, and wrote a few books. In fact his book written for children titled "Taming Si Budak Pintar" in 1992 won the Mobil-Mabopa contest (a Mobil Oil book writing contest).
He also wrote frequently and had weekly and monthly columns in the Malay newspapers and some local entertainment magazines. His artistic talent also saw him contributing sketches and cartoons for publication in the local magazines.
Sudirman's EMI Timeless album cover
As a commercial entrepreneur, he endorsed and was appointed ambassador of many high profile products, like Proton and Malaysia Airlines. His business ventures include selling a state-of-the-art, wrap-around, flexible sunglasses and a carbonated canned drink (with variety of tastes) under the "Sudi" brand. He also started an apparel franchise shop under the "Sudi Shoppe" brand signage.
All the business ventures, however, came to a stop following his untimely