Performing still brings them joy


The cast of ‘Jangan Ketawa‘ in the 1990s – Dee, Ghanie, Rama, Robin, Robert, Sri Shan, Chin, Moon and Danny.

The cast of ‘Jangan Ketawa‘ in the 1990s – Dee, Ghanie, Rama, Robin, Robert, Sri Shan, Chin, Moon and Danny.

REMEMBER Jangan Ketawa, the local television comedy series that featured a multi-racial cast of comedians in the 1990s?

Two names that come to mind immediately are Dee and Moon, the two characters played by Syed Muradzi Syed Shamsul and the late Munir Sheikh Mahmud.

There was also the late Rambo Chin, a rotund bespectacled character who spoke Malay with a heavy Chinese accent and Robert Koong, who looked uncannily like Hong Kong actor Karl Maka of Aces Go Places fame.

The show was so popular that when Dee and Moon stepped out from their Brickfields apartment two months after the show went on air, they caused a traffic jam.

Jangan Ketawa, directed by Linda Chong and Harith Iskander, was taken off the air in 1993 but had made a lasting impression.

StarMetro caught up with four former cast members to see what they are up to.

Dee is an event organiser as well as a stand-up comedian.
Dee is an event organiser as well as a stand-up comedian.

Syed Muradzi Syed Shamsul (Dee)

Twenty-four years after Jangan Ketawa, Dee continues to entertain requests from fans to reprise his role as “Cik Timah”, the rib-tickling character in the comedy series.

“Mind you, ‘Cik Timah’ does not do shopping complex venues. She has gone upmarket,” jokes Dee.

“The character has appeared for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Sultan of Johor and events organised by government agencies,” he said.

A familiar face in the local entertainment circuit, Dee says he is a keen observer of celebratory days because it spells business for his events company.

One artiste he has enjoyed a long working relationship with, he said, is Datuk Jamal Abdillah.

They have starred together in Secretaries’ Week shows for the past nine years.

The former hairdresser, who is of Yemeni descent, takes credit for creating the layered bob.

Dee ran his own hair salon for seven years after Jangan Ketawa ended.

Now, the 55-year-old bachelor enjoys the privilege of being chauffeur driven.

He said this gives him time to update his social media sites, talk to clients and firm up loose ends for his shows.

On the whole, he maintains a positive outlook on life.

“At this point in life, all I want is to have fun,” he said candidly.

Today, Ramasundran, who has his own company, is a director.
Today, Ramasundran, who has his own company, is a director.

Ramasundran Rengan

Better known as Rama to his fans, the 53-year-old now heads his own production company in Jalan Genting Kelang, Kuala Lumpur.

This year marks 32 years of his involvement in the entertainment industry. To-date, Rama, who speaks fluent Mandarin and Hokkien, has directed 300 dramas and acted in 500.

His office is conveniently located beside the dental clinic run by his wife, Kamala. The couple met soon after Jangan Ketawa was taken off air.

Rama, who was holidaying in Indonesia, met Kamala by chance when they accidentally bumped their bags against each other at the hotel lobby.

Recognising the celebrity at once, Kamala struck up a conversation and a holiday romance ensued. The couple have three children.

He currently divides his time to care for his ageing father, serve as a Civil Defence volunteer and act in Chinese movies and dramas.

Danny and Robin continue to do stand-up comedy and acrobatics at private functions and on cruise ships.
Danny and Robin continue to do stand-up comedy and acrobatics at private functions and on cruise ships.

Danny and Robin Koong

Danny and Robin are the younger siblings of the late Robert Koong.

Danny, now 64, still has vivid memories of those earlier days. He said Chong the director had known them since their days as circus acrobats and comedians.

“Our late father, Koong Yuk Gui, worked as a trapeze artiste and a clown for a Chinese travelling circus, so you could say we grew up as showmen,” said Danny.

When Jangan Ketawa was taken off air, Robin made his way into the movie industry as a stunt man while Danny went on to do stand-up comedy and acrobatics in nightclubs and cruise ships.

The brothers also perform as a duo and they have done shows in Italy, the US, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

One way they pitch themselves to show agents is to offer a money-back guarantee if the audience does not laugh.

“We don’t dwell on the past. What is finished, is finished.

“If the money is for us to make, then it will be ours. If not, we don’t worry about it,” said Danny of the philosophy which has sustained their long-lasting career in show business.

When not performing, the brothers teach.

Most of their students are new performers who regard the two as masters in the acrobatics field.