The first Sikh advertising icon in Malaysia

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I remember there was a towering man in Malaysian advertising in the early 1980s.

His name was Daljindra Singh Dogra, but everyone called him Del.

He was the one who told me to get into advertising by sticking my foot in the door at first light.

“They will have to take you in, just don’t move your foot!”

Dashing Del was one gigantic six-footer known for brilliant creative work on brands like Toyota.

He worked hard and partied hard. Del was fiercely competitive and was on a mission to be the best.

And nobody was going to get in his way. Del gave hell to his detractors and he wrote like heaven.

He drove a Porche, he won the Best of Best Grand Prix award at the Malaysian advertising show.

Del was unstoppable.

And he was always ready for a good fight…. in every sense of the word.

Del had more than an opinion, he decreed. And that got him into trouble… often.

He rode a Triumph bike and got all the attention. He had the best Punjabi jokes and he was my hero.

His headlines moved mountains and he worked at PTM Thompson (JWT), Naga and Idris Pawanchik.

His last story to me was about the “World Remainders”, a mythical concept he created about a dystopian world where the survivors were a bunch of advertising die-hards called the “World Remainders”.

Del fought his last fight against a brain tumour till the very end.

He passed away just after his 40th birthday on December 5, 1986.

To me, Del will always remain the first Sikh who made all the difference in Malaysian advertising.

I was his biggest fan.

Harmandar Singh

Del’s son Jonn Dogra is now Creative Director at Entropia. Del’s art director at Thompson was Paul Liao, who now owns and runs Sao Nam, a famous Vietnamese restaurant in Jalan Bukit Bintang.

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