Singapore Film Locations Archive

Permata Di-Perlimbahan / Jewel in the Slum (1952)

Original film title in Malay: Permata Di-Perlimbahan
Literal English translation of film title: Jewel in the Slum

Directed by Haji Mahadi
Language: Malay
Starring: Nordin Ahmad, Maria Menado, Salmah Ibrahim, J. Husny Su’ud Jr.
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)

Film Locations:
Rubber plantation
Alkaff Lake and Gardens (off Upper Serangoon Road)


EVER SINCE THE FOUNDING of Malay Film Productions Ltd (MFP) in the late 1940s, the film studio owners Shaw Brothers had always employed expatriate directors from India, such as the old-hand B. S. Rajhans, S. Ramanathan and L. Krishnan, to direct the studio’s output of Malay films. Setting a precedence for MFP, the Shaw Brothers offered the director’s chair to one of their Malay actors and seasoned bangsawan actor, A. R. Tompel, for a film/screenplay titled Fatimah. A. R. Tompel, in fact, had been directing Malay films for another film company, Nusantara Film Productions, using the pseudonym ‘Armaya’. He and the Shaw Brothers couldn’t agree on the terms of the director’s fee, and he eventually left MFP for good. The task of directing Fatimah was passed on to Haji Mahadi, another senior MFP Malay actor/assistant director. Haji Mahadi’s debut film, which he renamed Permata Di-Perlimbahan (Jewel in the Slum) has been hailed as the first film directed by a local Malay, but it was not a success at the box-office. The Shaw Brothers were dismayed by the poor results and didn’t employ Malay film directors for the next three years, until the multi-talented Malay film artiste P. Ramlee emerged with his directorial debut Penarek Becha in 1955.


_01-Permata-Rubber-Plantation _02-Permata-Rubber-Plantation
_03-Permata-Alkaff-Gardens _04-Permata-Alkaff-Gardens Alkaff Garden _04B-PhotoMap-1950-Alkaff-Gardens _04C-Former-Alkaff-Gardens-2013
Further Reading:
Jamil Sulong, Kaca Permata: Memoir Seorang Pengarah (translation. ‘Glass Jewel: Memoir of a Director). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1993.

Film Images:
© 1952 Malay Film Productions
© 2004 Music Valley

Digital Map Source:
Great Britain. Royal Air Force, Singapore photomap, National Library of Australia, MAP G8041.A4 s6 1950. []

© 2013 Toh Hun Ping

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