Veteran Singer, DJ Dave – A Kampung Boy At Heart

in Entertainment/Latest


KUALA LUMPUR – Veteran Malaysian singer DJ Dave, famed for his classic Raya song Menjelang Hari Raya, is a kampung boy at heart.

His strong bond with his family and the traditional values instilled are the key elements that keep him going.

To be precise, he applies the 5K formula for success – keluarga (family), kampung (hometown), kesenian (Arts), keturunan (ancestor) and kebudayaan (culture).

Despite his tight schedule, Datuk DJ Dave, who is based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, finds time for his 92-year old father back home in Tanjong Malim, Perak and, who is now on a wheelchair, frail and blind but in good health.

His kampung values are reflected in his self-penned number Di Desa Kasihku Tertumpah, a song which he gladly rendered at the end of the WebTV interview with Bernama Portal.


Dave or Irwan Shah Abdullah, believes that these elements, which have been practised over the years, are the key to his success.

With Allah’s blessings, says Dave, his children are now successful in their careers. He has three children – two sons an engineer and pilot respectively and his daughter an architect.

Dave, who keeps himself occupied with charitable work, is chairman of Yayasan Artis 1Malaysia (1Malaysia Artiste Foundation), which he initiated in 2012. The foundation was instrumental in organising a tribute concert for a living legend, Tan Sri S M Salim early this year.

The last time the popular entertainer, who is known for his evergreen hits Maafkanlah and Ingin Bersua, recorded a single was in 2014.

He wrote the song titled Di Pertemuan Abadi (Meeting In Eternity) and sought the help of lyricist Habsah Hassan to complete the lyrics of the number, which was dedicated for the victims of the ill-fated MH17 and MH370.

Proceeds of RM50,000 raised from the sale of the single, were presented to the crew’s family members, says Dave.


As singing is in his blood, Dave still performs for dinner shows both in Malaysia and Singapore.

An entrepreneur, Dave has also ventured into hotels and the renewable energy sector – converting wastes such as rice husks, chicken wastes and empty fruit bunches into energy.

At 68, Dave, who has been active in the entertainment industry for the last four decades, has not changed much since then, thanks to his fitness regime which he has been practising for over 20 years.

The crooner who plays badminton twice a week, has won a silver medal in the 44th World Morning Cup badminton championship endorsed by the Badminton World Federation held in Taipei, Taiwan last year.

In 2013, he also grabbed two silver medals in the championship, a tournament for veterans, in which he won in the singles and doubles categories.


Looking back at his life’s journey, Dave wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He learned everything he could from his parents, including doing household chores.

Despite his poor background, his parents taught his children that nobody should leave the house without eating.

“Charity starts at home. You have to feed people first and keep on giving them, especially children. Some do not have good food.

Happiness is when people are happy, when you see delight on people’s face, when people are enjoying your presence. You can’t find happiness on your own.”

Dave’s father treats him like a friend.”I can still talk to my father when I am distressed.

After talking to him, I felt so happy. Similarly, I shared such moments with my own children, especially when they were down and out.”


Due to his poor background, Dave could not pursue his ambition to become a doctor, but given his vocal talent, he became a singer.

It didn’t stop him from buying a bus for his father who wanted to take children to school. “I became the conductor for my father but I was happy.”

As a singer, Dave, who has over 50 albums under his belt, started off earning RM150 for a show. “Today, our artistes are charging RM25,000 per show.”

Dave also keeps in touch with his old friends from the United Kingdom, the Hague and Singapore, with regular get-together sessions every six months in Port Dickson.

During these gatherings, they would sing oldies such as Beatles, Bee Gees and Cliff Richard hits to bring back the nostalgic memories.


To strengthen family ties, get-together sessions with relatives are also held and organised by the older generation.

Reminiscing the past, Dave says gone are the days when children used to fly kites and marbles, while neighbours knew each other. His own parents used to make capati and shared their home cooked food with their neighbours.

“All these are not happening now. Children are glued to their handsets during meals with their family. People don’t talk to each other anymore. Is it the technology or people’s behavioural pattern? They dont respect each other.

If I can bring this to Yayasan (Artis 1Malaysia) where we can create these scenes of yesteryears again, it would be good.

Maybe, choose one or two kampungs where children play marbles and create communication awareness among children by setting aside their phones over dinner.

Parents have lost quality time with their kids, and children are picking up the rubbish from the internet and got corrupted. Where are we going?”


Dave says he has always been guided by the philosophy of respect for people regardless of their race and religion. “Always wish well for people. Practise a religion of love in your heart. Don’t question others about their beliefs.”

“Believe in your religion, but respect others too. You will go in the right direction.

You must also learn to forgive. I’ve been hurt by many people in many ways, but I never keep it in my heart. Just forgive and walk away.

Whatever you do, don’t go to go overboard. Extremism is always hard and leads to different directions. It will even kill in religion. Moderation is the word. Everything that we do must be in moderation, ” adds Dave.

On whether he is planning to come up with a new album, Dave says friends have been asking him to make a comeback with new songs, including Hindi numbers since the Dilwale craze.


“I probably may go back to the studio and produce a Malay single. If I can contribute, why not. Sometimes, my fans, even the Chinese, used to ask me to sing Menjelang Hari Raya during non-festive seasons.”

“Music and sports can unite people from all walks of life, transcending all barriers. My participation in badminton championships for senior citizens keeps me going and allows me to meet alot of people from other parts of the world.

Music is universal. At the end of the day, it is a language by itself. Thank God I have music and sports in me. It keeps me going till the day I die.”

His last message before wrapping up the interview:”Don’t forget your parents, your family, your kampung and your roots. Always go back to basics.”