Portrayal Of Malay Culture In Malaysian Traditional Songs

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Our sports is honored in Malaysian culture.

– Gameness til the End

Portrayal Of Malay Culture In Malaysian Traditional Songs

By Aripin Said

Introduction

Literature or language arts represent one facet of art. Before the coming of Hinduism, the various races of the Malay Archipelago clearly had a rather advanced culture. They were familiar with astrology which was necessary for navigation. Had it not been so, they would never have populated the numerous distant islands of the Austronesian island chain. In the arts, they were familiar with gamelan, the metric system, and were also good at batik printing. They also had an orderly system of city states and had mastered planting and cultivation.

It is in this respect that we will examine the portrayal of the culture of old Malay society as depicted in the traditional songs of Pahang. The lyrics of these songs will reflect the lifestyle of that society.

Culture in it‘s entirely can be understood as a manifestation of the mind and character of humans. All that occurs through human physical and mental efforts can be said to be culture. A study on songs will also involve a discussion of art which can be generally understood as the creation of beauty or of something that is beautiful. Knowledge and industry cannot by themselves achieve betterment of human life. Beauty is also necessary. Just as man cannot live on bread and water alone, but requires clothing for protection, a place to sleep and shelter from the wind and rain, so too does he need beauty.

The importance of literature is obvious and within the context of this paper, we cannot deny the role of traditional songs in linking us to situations, beliefs and all other things that concern life in the past.

The lyrics of traditional songs often inform us of the relationship between past society and its environment; the interaction between and individual in the society and his own self; as well as the relationship between members of that society and God. When we study literary works from such a perspective, we will learn of the trends of the period, its spiritual development, passions, perceptions and visions. This would expand and enrich the experiences of any race.

Hence, the artistic products that are to be discussed here represent a reflection of society at that time in all walks of life. It is this aspect that becomes the focus of our discussion on the lyrics of traditional songs. This discussion will be further supplemented by reference to the background in which these works flourished and became popular.

The Background of Traditional Songs of Pahang

The traditional songs of the state of Pahang are also known as folk songs and although their dates of origin cannot be conclusively traced, they have been popular for a long time and have been orally passed down through the generations. Nevertheless, these songs have recently been in danger of disappearing as many members of the older generation have passed away.

Fortunately, a recent research lasting from 1976 to 1982 has managed to trace a number of such songs.

The traditional villages along the Pahang river hold numerous secrets concerning the traditional songs of the state. When correctly approached, the elderly folk of these villages are more than willing to divulge such secrets by singing these songs as well as providing one with their lyrics and historical background. These songs are also found deep in the interior, especially in the areas around Tembeling, Maran and Temerloh. Even in this region, the songs differ from one district to another.

The Portrayal of Society in Some Selected Songs

As many as five songs have been selected for discussion in this study. These songs are as follows:

  1. Walinong Sari
  2. Indung-indung
  3. Burung Kenek-kenek
  4. Lagu Orang Muda
  5. Lagu Zikir
  6. Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh

The lyrics of these songs represent a reflection of society of that period.

When we explore how these songs portray society, with particular focus on old Malay society and its traditions, we will be looking at the various manifestations of culture portrayed by them. This will include all aspects of life of the society, including its economic dealings, socialization patterns and other matters. We will also inevitably look at principles in life, beliefs and the daily activities of members of society. It is apparent that when these issues are discussed, the entire creationthat forms the backdrop of life will play an increasingly important role. This can betraced through the discussion of the lyrics of the selected songs.

The Traditional Songs of Pahang As a Reflection of the Wisdom of Old Malay Society

It cannot be denied that the lyrics of traditional songs reflect the wisdom of the society at that time, especially of the members of the society who wrote and composed them. As we know, it is almost impossible for us to trace who these people were. This becomes a characteristic feature of the traditional literature of the society and is subsumed as part of its heritage.

The actions of society as well as the surrounding world become sources of inspiration for the song writer who composes lyrics that are both attractive and interesting.

Mountains, names of places, the weather and the activities of members of the society are clearly sources of inspiration for these song writers. All these sources are blended in a particular fashion into a montage of images and then conveyed to society as an ageless piece which we continue to enjoy in the present day when ever we are fortunate enough to chance upon them. The portrayal of the world around us is seen in the song Walinong Sari, part of which is reproduced below:

  1. Walinonglah Sari
  2. the beautiful princess
  3. who descends from the top of Mount Banang
  4. the top of Mount Ophir
  5. the top of Mount Tahan
  6. and Kinabalu.

As is usually found in the introductory lines of Malay poems, the song Lagu Orang Muda mentions of names of places, daily weather, and the product of the activities of society. These images are then composed into beautiful lyrics that will affect any who study them.

This can be seen in the following examples:

“Pathways lie to the left and the right,
In the centre stands the Mengkudu tree.
“Sail away to Tanjung Batu
Tarry awhile at Tanjung Jati”
“Chrysanthemums, planted by the Chinese
To be carefully wrapped in paper
“Eleven baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there are ten”

In the song Burung Kenek-kenek or Small and Tiny Bird, the portrayal of nature is as follows:

“Small and tiny bird
flying to the blue skies.”
“Small and tiny bird
soaring across the clouds.”
“Small and tiny bird
sitting on the fence.”

This we see the wisdom of the “thinkers” in old Malay society and their ability to churn out charming and attractive poetry from what they saw around them. It is obvious that in that society there existed a unique and meaningful way of perceiving the natural surroundings. This had become a heritage for the modern generations and are eternally exemplified in the above songs.

The Principles of Life of Old Malay Society

The life history of the Malay race has clearly passed through the following periods:

  1. Period of Animism
  2. Period of Hindu influence
  3. Period of Transition from Hinduism to Islam
  4. Period of Islamic influence

These periods however cannot be considered as completely distinct from each other as the influence of one period can often be found in another. The period of Islamic influence can be taken as an example as although the tenets of Islam were well established then, nevertheless, there were still traces of Hindu influence in the practice of society.

Traditional songs clearly indicate the four periods mentioned above. Walinong Sari which tells of the beauty and magical prowess of a princess reflects the strong influence of Hinduism. The song Indung-indung on the other hand provides evidence of animism as a firm belief at that time. This belief played an important role in the daily lives of the members of the then contemporary society. In the song Indung-indung, a magical keris is able to conjure images that would never have been thought of at the time but are verified only by the strong beliefs of society. The keris that has seventeen notches is well taken care of and carefully guarded:

“Ai besilah dititik besilah ditinting
Smoked over the single incense
Washed with the juices of the belimbing buluh.
The poison of the keris is formidable
“Sebulan dagang menggalas lalu
Jejak ditikam mati juga.”
“A drop of blood touches the earth
Padi will not be harvested for a season.
A drop of blood trickles into the sea
Fish will not play for a whole year. ”

Such is the depiction of the powers of the enchanted keris. Enchantment that is beyond the ordinary the result of which is devastating. These beliefs became  irmly rooted in old Malay society and is further illustrated in the following song:

“Come down sir
to convey your regards
come down at once
come down to play
in the Forbidden Gardens.”

This verse is found in the song Walinong Sari which glorifies the beautiful Princess Walinong Sari so as to obtain here succour. Walinong Sari is not only portrayed as a beautiful princess, but also one who is wise in all matters. She excels in floral arrangement, the martial art of silat gayung, cock fighting and the use of spears. The following reflects the heavy Hindu influence in the beliefs of old Malay society:

“Walinong Sari
the sagacious princess
deft in
talented in silat
skilled in swordsmanship
and in the hurling of spears.”
“Walinong Sari
the beautiful princess
descends to play
arranging the flowers
clipping the flowers
picking the flowers
from the Forbidden Garden.”

The Hindu Ramayana tells of Sita Dewi who is a princess of unrivaled beauty and is wooed by both Sri Rama and Rawana. Hence, Walinong Sari the local princess found in the beliefs of the Malay society of the time is clearly a manifestation of the Hindu influence that had taken root then. Nevertheless, the influence of animism and Hinduism were eclipsed when Malay society was illuminated by the light of truth with the coming of Islam. The advent of Islam began in Melaka in the early 15th century and spread to the entire archipelago and resulted in a change in the belief of its inhabitants, particularly the Malays who had previously been staunch followers of Hinduism. This also occurred in the state of Pahang where the spread of Islam became more organized due to the efforts of Tuk Shihabuddin, a missionary who began his preaching at Kampung Berhala gantang, Temerloh, Pahang.

The teachings of Islam immediately influenced the traditional songs of the state especially those songs that were of an educational nature. This is clearly seen in the songs “Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh” [Ten Baby Chicks Hatching]; “Lagu Zikir” [The Song of Remembrance of God], and “Burung Kenek-kenek” [Small and Tiny Bird]. In the song “Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh”, we are able to see the society‘s adherence to Islamic tenets:

“Ten baby a hatching
One dies and then there are nine
Rise at dawn to perform prayers
Supplications made to God

Rising at dawn immediately followed by performing the morning prayers and supplications made to God are clear teachings of Islam. The song “Zikir” exhorts belief in Prophet Muhammad as the seal of the prophets of Allah. This song also teaches us who the pious and knowledgeable are, what the true year is, and how tremendous the signs of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh). All these are clearly illustrated as follows:

“There are many kinds of leaves
But the betel leaf is the true leaf
There are many kinds of years
but the hijrah year is the true year
“There are many kinds of days
but Friday is the true day
There have been many messengers of God
and Prophet Muhammad is their seal. ”

Hence we see how Malay society of that time had adhered to Islam in their life. When these teachings were composed into lyrics, it made it easier for the society in general to accept them. In this respect, traditional songs played an important and effective role. A local context was used in order to ensure a more comprehensive understanding. The reference to the betel leaf, Friday and other similar items are clear examples of this.

Agriculture and Animal Hearing

Agriculture, animal rearing and deep sea fishing represented major sources of income for old Malay society. We find that padi cultivation, the rearing of chicken and goats as well as deep sea fishing either provided common images or became sources of inspiration for traditional songs. This is exemplified in the song “Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh”, the title of which is enough to tell us that chicken rearing must surely be a common although marginal economic activity of the time.

“The heifer shakes its head
the heifer with hair in its ears.”
“The heifer shakes its head
the heifer with red fur.”

Here, we are made to understand that there were members of society at that time who reared calves as a source of income.

A drop of blood touches the earth
Padi will not be harvested for a season.
A drop of blood trickles into the sea
Fish will not play for a whole year.”

From this verse, we see that planting padi as well as fishing were common activities of the then contemporary society.

Every form of activity was a constant source of inspiration in writing the lyrics of traditional songs.

Commerce and Sailing

Societies of the past traveled and traded not only in search of riches but also in pursuit of knowledge. Both these objectives however were in order to attain happiness in life. Travels were undertaken on land and at sea, in long journeys and short, whether to trade or to seek wisdom from the learned. The travel that is referred to in the song “Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh”, is done at sea. The song tells of a ship hit by typhoon, the lives of the sailors that needed to be saved and many other related images.

The song “lndung-indung” on the other hand tells of the trader who travels by foot with the cloth satchel slung over his shoulder containing his own personal  ondiments if not the items meant for trade.

Regardless of the manner of travel, or the items that are brought along, the objectives of such travels remain clear.

Three baby chicks a hatching

one dies and then there are two
When one finally feels relieved
raise anchors and we shall set sail
Two baby chicks a hatching
one dies and then there is one
Raise anchors and we shall set sail
the ship sails to Tanjung Batu.
“Sebulan dagang menggalas lalu
jejak ditikam mati juga. ”

The above stanza tells us that a month‘s travel would leave its imprint along the way although the traveler carries his belongs in a satchel slung across his  houlder. This is a depiction of the travels of the members of old Malay society as found in traditional songs.

As was previously mentioned, travels were undertaken for specific aims and objectives. They are documented in the lyrics of songs that have been passed down. These travels were most certainly actual events of the time and were immortalized through traditional songs.

Non Formal Education

Even though there weren‘t any specific educational institutions at the time, education was still present in old Malay society. This took the form of non formal education. Advice such as obedience to teachers and humility towards the elderly are found in the song “Burung Kenek-kenek” [Small and Tiny Bird]. The song also contains advice on the kind of companion one should seek.

The teachings of Islam are clearly prevalent in the song “Lagu Zikir” [The Song of Remembrance to God]. We find lyrics which sing of praise to the prophet Muhammad [pbuh], respect towards the Hijriah year of the Islamic calendar and Friday as the most magnificent of the seven days.

The spirit of cooperation in overcoming predicaments, and remembrance of God through supplications and the dawn prayer are clearly espoused in the song “Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh” [Ten chicks in the Garden].

These are all examples of non formal education in old Malay society which has helped to mould the society through its own socialization process.

Leisure

The lyrics in the song Walinong Sari mention of a beautiful princess who is good at silat, swordsmanship, the use of spears and cock fighting. We can thus assume that old Malay society had specific leisure activities which were very meaningful and had an important role in society at that time.

Young adolescent males would be taught the art of silat. Some would opt for cock fighting while others would develop skills in swordsmanship and the use of spears.

Weaponry requires deft abilities. Silat also needs the practitioner to go through an arduous regime. Mastery of this skill was especially important for the men folk. The warriors were often respected by other members of society. Books such as Hikayat Hang Tuah which have been written about the pat reveal that such warriors were given special status in the court and were the first line of defense in any assault on the kingdom.

Such were the activities that were carried out by society at that time.

Love

The question of love is a universal issue and has become a necessity in any discussion of culture. Hence it too dwelled upon in traditional songs. Falling in love becomes a source of inspiration to the writers of traditional songs, indicating that romance as well as being an aged bachelor were also common occurrences in past society.

This is clearly seen in the song “Lagu Orang Muda” [Song of the Young]:

“If the sky seems overcast
Then let the rain fall
But don‘t let it rain for days
If you so wish, then stay a bachelor
But do not remain one til you‘re old and gray.
“Pathways lie to the left and the right
In the centre stands the mengkudu tree
Don‘t send your love or your regards
But let us be together in yearning
“How swiftly my little boat sails
swiftly it ails to Tanjung Berangan.
Forget your clothing, forget your clothes,
but forget me you should never.

These three stanzas of the song look at a love which is filled with somber yearning as well whimsical teasing.

These stanzas also represent a description of the love between man and woman which is commonly portrayed by traditional songs of the time and this reflects the activities of the then contemporary society.

Inter Societal Relations

We find that relations had been established with other racial communities, especially the Chinese. This may have been forged even before Hang Li Po‘s arrival at Melaka and her marriage to Sultan Mansor Syah.

This is supported by the song “Lagu Orang Muda” [The Song of the Young] and “Anak Ayam Turun Sepuluh” [Ten Chicks In the Garden], the latter of which contains the following lines:

Five baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there are four
Summon the Chinese carpenter
To fix anything loose

Whereas the song “Lagu Orang Muda” [The song of the Young] has the  following reference to the Chinese:

Chrysanthemums planted by the Chinese
to be carefully wrapped in paper
Whose heart would not grieve
seeing the ship leave with its beloved.

These two excerpts show how well established was the relationship of these two racial communities and how such a relationship was built on the spirit of cooperation, especially in the areas of ship building and agriculture.

It also informs us that during that period, the Chinese were good craftsmen. In the Malay Annals, the Chinese were referred to as masters of iron, if they were ironsmiths and masters of gold if they were goldsmiths. Hence we see that harmony between the Malays and other races had long been in existence.

Neighbourliness, cooperation and the communal spirit had existed not only within each racial community but also between such communities. This was the basis of village life and became a resource for leaders to unite the subjects under him.

These values were enshrined and further complemented by the sincere and genuine respect each had for the other. In the context of this discussion, it seems highly likely that such values were informally inculcated during childhood through traditional songs. This tradition of non-formal education has been‘ passed down from one generation to another.

The Background of the Traditional Songs of Sabah and Sarawak

The traditional songs that are referred to in this study are children‘s songs. They are poetry recited to the children by parents and adult relatives and later sung by the children. These songs are sung as entertainment or to put children to sleep. The background of children‘s songs from Sabah and Sarawak is similar in many ways to what is found in the Malay Peninsular. The dates of their origin are unclear. According to the elderly of Sabah and Sarawak, these songs have been around since they were children. Usually these songs can be more easily traced to the interior regions of the two states.

Each region have its own traditional songs according to the indigenous that live there. Sometimes these tribes are further divided, producing difference in the pronunciation and rhythm of the songs. The Melanau Rajang dialect in Sarawak for example differs from the Melanau Dalat dialect. The Melanau Rajang use ‘nyanyei‘ for the word ‘kawan‘ [friend] whereas the Melanau Dalat use ‘sakai‘ for the same word. This is also the case with the Kadazan tribe of Sabah as their dialects change according to the region it is spoken. A direct result of this is that both Sabah and Sarawak are rich with traditional songs. However, a dearth of elderly folk to sing them makes it somewhat difficult for the researcher to obtain such songs.

Portrayal of Society in Selected Songs

Several selected traditional songs will be used as a basis for the study of the portrayal of society in traditional songs. Such a study of traditional songs will undoubtedly uncover attitudes, beliefs and activities of the societies of past centuries. The padi planter toiling at the rice field, the fisherman braving the waves, and the hunter stalking his prey in the jungle will have their activities represented in songs which will either focus on the job itself or provide images that are related to it.

The traditional children‘s songs that have been selected come from the following indigenous tribes:

  • Melayu [Sarawak]
  • Iban [Sarawak]
  • Bidayuh [Sarawak]
  • Melanau [Sarawak]

Images of Nature in Traditional Songs

The people of the past were at peace with nature around them. Their daily activities such as farming, hunting, gathering wood, roots and the like revolved around natural surroundings. Their understanding of nature became a reference point in their proverbs, idioms, and poetry. This is also seen in the selected traditional songs. In the song “Tok Tunggok” for example, the names of various trees are mentioned:

“Tok ta tunggok
three Pulai trees
growing downstream
growing too close together
Tok Tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
So pretty is the Bunian Muda tree
that grows behind the hill
A youth is not unwilling to give his life
For a mere bronze ring
Tok tunggok”

Life in the jungle is second nature to the Iban community as they hunt and look for vegetables there. Their presence in the jungles has made them familiar with various plants and trees. It is therefore not surprising that there are references to names of various trees in the song “Tok Tunggok. ”

Images of nature are also found in the song “Magandai”, a traditional Kadazan song:

Sayang, sayangkan anak, mengapa menangis?
Perhaps for want of a name! Let me give a name
like the name of a stream, so that there will be
prowess in catching fish.
My dear, dear child is growing up, so clever is he
Lindung fish, with a sword so long; Kali fish, its
body a shield; freshwater turtle, with its hat;
and the python”

This song tells us how the people of the time were so sensitive of the world around them to the extent that it is directly linked to the growing child.

Portrayal of Mother‘s Love Towards Her Child

A mother‘s love is most evident when she puts her child to sleep. The mother dearly hopes that her child will fall asleep and the expressions “don‘t cry” and “sleep tight” is often found in the lyrics of lullabies. In the song “Ayun” [Rock] from the Balongan community for example we find the following:

Rock my child rock
Rock in your cradle
Swing, the cradle swings
swing in remembrance of a distant love
Sleep, my child sleep
Sleep soundly as the cradle rocks.

Similar situations can be found in the songs of Bajau and Sarawak Malay communities:

My love, dear, don‘t you cry
I‘ll serenade you songs a pretty
My single love, don‘t you cry
I‘ll sing you songs a many

[Song of the Bajau community]

The gibbon sleeps suspended I
tis suspended from the bar
The kepua cloth that is green
A blanket for my only grandchild

[Song of the Sarawak Malay community]

The portrayal of the child‘s love towards his mother is seen in the lullaby of the Suluk community in Sabah:

In the past
you loved me
Dirt on my face
and you washed me.

In the above verse, the mother cherishes the love of her child towards her. Although the child is still in his cradle, his mother has already conjured an image of how he will be like when he grows up. The mother hopes to instill the feeling of love towards the elderly in her child. Verily, traditional children‘s songs contain many lessons and have high educational value in terms of developing the character of children. They also represent the earliest literary exposure for children in Malay society.

The Wisdom and Industry that are Passed Down to Children

Advice and knowledge are associated with old age. While putting the child to sleep, the mother advises him to become a useful person in the future:

My dear child, why do you cry?
Perhaps for want of a name! Let me give a name
like the name of a stream, so that there will be
prowess in catching fish.

Children must also be inculcated with the spirit of working hard and assisting the elderly. In the past, children were exposed to the jobs and activities of the old fold and were encouraged to help out whenever possible:

A lady spoke of
a young girl
who took her time
in her chores
when she only had to fill
her bamboo container with water.

[Song of the Bidayuh community]

In the past, fetching water was a common chore as there was no piped water. The daily life of the Bidayuh community around Kuching often revolved around the river. Children often had to help the elderly fetch water and to ease their burden, they frequently sang traditional songs.

Songs that Tease the Elderly and Friends with Animal Images

Teasing in past societies does not imply hurting one‘s feelings. Instead it was considered a form of mild entertainment at play or after a hard day‘s work. In the instances of teasing that are found in traditional songs of the Melanau Rajang community, a person‘s image is linked with animal images.

The owl keeps bobbing
at the end of the bush
Hurl at it with poison
Blinded in one eye

The owl has always been considered a frightening bird. Its intense eyes makes one uncomfortable and even more so if one eye is blind. This song is sung repeatedly when a child wants to playfully tease his friends who have made a mistake So too will they sing it when they see an old man who has some physical disability, but merely to tease and as a form of mild entertainment. Although initially it may be seen as rude, we need to remember that in the past, teasing was a socially acceptable form of leisure.

Daily Activities

The daily activities of people of the past revolved around agriculture and the rearing of animals. Agriculture involved farming and fishing while that were often reared were chickens, ducks and water buffaloes. The traditional children‘s songs Sabah and Sarawak provided glimpses of several daily activities of the people of the time. Although the portrayal may not be comprehensive, it provides a sufficiently vivid depiction of the daily activities of the time.

Example 1

Catch the prawns
catch them then free them
Where does the sound come from
But the man hiding in the bush

[song of the Sarawak Malay community]

My dear child, why do you cry?
Perhaps for want of a name! Let me give a name
like the name of a stream, so that there will be
prowess in catching fish.

[Song of the Kadazan community]

The daily activities of society form a resource for the composing of songs and are adapted for children‘s entertainment.

Another example is as follows:

The gibbon sleeps suspended
It is suspended from the bar
The kepua cloth that is green
A blanket for my only grandchild

[Song of the Sarawak Malay community]

The Kepua cloth that is mentioned in this song refers to the Pua cloth that is woven by the Sarawak Iban community. This song hence portrays another daily activity of past society. Although such poems or songs were written by Malays, the inclusion of images of things found around them reveals the sensitivities of the song writer towards the culture around him. In the above example, it signifies the existence of cloth weaving within the Iban community of that time.

Portrayal of Children‘s Attire

Societies of the past had their own special way of providing for children‘s attire. In a situation of deficiency, they were forced to create their own garments for children. In the Sarawak Malay community of the past, gifts of iron bangles for the feet and wire bracelets for the hands were common. These were usually made by the father or grandfather of the child. While singing lullabies to put the child to sleep, these bracelets and bangles are spontaneously referred to.

Stamp your feet iron anklets
slap your back gintong string
clap your hands wire bracelets
timang anak timang

The Wisdom of Past Societies in using Love Potions

The longhouse of the Iban community holds a thousand and one secrets. The Ibans are known for effective love potions. This is reflected in their traditional song “Tok Tunggok” which is sung as a lullaby:

Example 1

“Tok ta tunggok

The love potion that belongs to his kin
that was applied late at night
put the two of them together for two months
always in love and in lack of sleep
Tok ta tunggok

Example 2

“Tok ta tunggok
How sad the love potion ‘jayau pugai‘
that belongs to his kin
when applied to an old lady
No wonder he acts so proud
Tok ta tok tunggok.

The pride that the Iban community felt towards their prowess with love potions was so evident that it has been eternalized in their traditional songs. This in turn educates the youth and the children in the community of the Iban heritage.

Love

Songs or poems with themes of love are often used as lullabies for babies in their cradles. While putting the child to sleep, the mother imagines that her child is in love:

Example 1

 
“Swing the cradle swings
swing in remembrance of a distant love

Example 2

“If the jackfruit is to fall
let it not fall on the pauh branch
ngindunglah anak
If your eyes are laden with sleep
let they not think of the one so far

In reality, while singing these songs, the mother is trying to get her child tonot think of other matter besides sleep. While singing love songs, the mother alsoindirectly discloses her own love towards the child:

Tok ta tunggok
How sad the wristwatch
of his kin
has a faulty piece and its key
is broken and crushed in his hand
No longer faithful in telling
when it is time to leave the lover‘s house
Tok tunggok

The rhythm of these songs are soft and echoic making them suitable as lullabies although the children may not fully understand what love is.

Conclusion

The folk songs of the past, especially the children‘s songs found in various societies of Malaysia, contain numerous elements of character building. Their lyrics advise the young to respect their parents, and to study diligently in order to serve the society and nation. Besides that, the lyrics also exhort young children to cling to religion. Self confidence is essential in life and in this respect, religion will surely form a secure foundation in life for the individual.

These children‘s songs also touch upon the beauty of the world around them. Mountains, valleys as well a dense jungles become sources of inspiration for the poets and song writers. The actions of society are also given attention to as when they are good, they became examples and if they are bad, they are deemed repugnant and avoided.

These advices and teachings are often embedded in the messages of the songs and poems. Past society did not have formal education to develop the younger generations. In this respect, all the songs that have been used as examples play an important role.

When we study these songs, we also find that there were some songs that spread from one place to another despite the lack of communication at the time. Near identical songs that are found in two different regions bear testimony to this.

Although communication between two places was difficult at that time, travel in search of food or for other important affairs still took place. These travelers would also bring along elements of their own culture with them in their journeys. This is how these songs spread from one place to another.

Another lesson we obtain from these songs – be it through their verse, lyrics, rhyme or other characteristics – is the wisdom of their writers. These poems are evergreen despite the time that has elapsed.

Now many of these songs are difficult to find and many artisans who know of such songs have long left us. The loss of any of such songs would be the loss of the nation. Nevertheless, all efforts are made to gather those that remain. Meanwhile, the songs that are still available will be disseminated far and wide for the benefit and enjoyment of today‘s generation.

SOME OF THE SELECTED SONGS ANAK AYAM TURUN SEPULUH

Ten baby chicks a hatching

One dies and then there were nine
Rise at dawn to perform prayers
Supplications made to God
Nine baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were eight
Supplications made to God
for the ship is beseiged by a storm
Eight baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were seven
The ship is beseiged by a storm
and the crew is all confused
Seven baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were six
The crew is all confused
the ship is about to sink
Six baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were five
The ship is about to sink
Summon the chinese carpenter
Five baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were four
Summon the chinese carpenter
to fix anything loose
Four baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were three
Fix anything that is loose
Then will we feel relieved
Three baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were two
When one feels relieved
raise anchors and we shall set sail
Two baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were one
Raise anchors and we shall set sail
the ship sails for Tanjung Batu
One baby chick a hatching
One dies and then there were none
The ship sails for Tanjung Batu
Our goal has finally been met

LAGU ZIKIR

There are many kinds of leaves
But the betel leaf is the true leaf
There are many kinds of years
but the hijrah year is the true year
O Allah, O prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
O Allah, O prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
There are many kinds of days
but Friday is the true day
There have been many messengers of God
and Prophet Muhammad is their seal.
O Allah, O prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
O Allah, O prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
There were many prophets sent by God
Prophet Muhammad was the seal of the prophets
When it was time for him to go
Angels came and provided him shade
O Allah, O prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
O Allah, O prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
There are many kinds of days
but Friday is the true day
There have been many messengers of God
and Prophet Muhammad is their seal. ”

LAGU ORANG MUDA

If the sky seems overcast, then let the rain fall
But don‘t let it rain for days
If you so wish, then stay a bachelor
But do not remain one til you‘re old and gray.
How swiftly my little boat sails
swiftly it sails to Tanjung Berangan.
Forget your clothing, forget your clothes,
but forget me you should never.
Chrysanthemums planted by the Chinese
to be carefully wrapped in paper
Regardless of whether or not I try
My heart will not release you.
Eleven baby chicks a hatching
One dies and then there were ten
Whose heart would not grieve
to see the ship leave with its beloved
Pathways lie to the left and the right
In the centre stands the mengkudu tree
Don‘t send your love or your regards
But let us be together in yearning
Sail away to Tanjung Batu
Tarry awhile at Tanjung Jati
The stars are many but the moon is one
and only you are my heart‘s desire

SMALL AND TINY BIRD

Small and tiny bird
Sitting on a rock
The advice of the elders is
to perfect your deeds
Small and tiny bird
Sitting on a fence
The advice of the elders is
to study diligently
The heifer shakes its head
The heifer with fur in its ears
Leave your imprint
At the place you have stayed long
The heifer shakes its head
The heifer with red fur
Hasten your steps
Never walk too slowly
Small and tiny bird
soaring across the clouds
The advice of the elders is
to be careful in choosing friends
Small and tiny bird
flying to the blue skies
The advice of the elders is
to be obedient to the teachers

 
INDUNG-INDUNG

Indung-indung lagu indung
Indung-indung lagu indung
The young wanderer leaves on a journey
with the keris with seventeen loks
Ai besilah dititik besilah ditinting
Smoked over the single incense
Washed with the juice of the belimbing buluh
Indung-indung lagu indung
Indung-indung lagu indung
The poison of the keris is formidable
Sebulan dagang menggalas lalu
Jejak ditikam mati juga
Indung-indung lagu indung
Indung-indung lagu indung
A drop of blood touches the earth
Padi will not be harvested for a season
A drop of blood trickes into the sea
Fish will not play for a whole year
Indung-indung lagu indung
Indung-indung lagu indung
Indung-indung lagu indung
Indung-indung lagu indung

WALINONG SARI

Walinong Sari
the beautiful princess
who descends from
the top of Mount Banag
the top of Mount Ophir
the top of Mount Tahan
and Kinabalu
Come down to play
in the Forbidden Gardens
arranging the flowers
clipping the flowers
picking the flowers
Walinong Sari
the sagacious princess
deft in cock fighting
talented in silat
skilled in swordsmanship
and in the hurling of spears.”
Come down sir
to convey your regards
come down at once
come down and play
at the Forbidden Gardens
Walinong Sari
the beautiful princess
descends to play
arranging the flowers
clipping the flowers
picking the flowers
from the Forbidden Garden.”
Walinong Sari
the sagacious princess
deft in cock fighting
talented in silat
skilled in swordsmanship
and in the hurling of spears.”
Return, my love
to the blue skies
Return at once
I will send for you
I will accompany you
on a safe journey
Walinong Sari

AMPAI-AMPAI

Ampailah ampai penyengat
sarang penyengat, penyengat
sarang penyengat
From a distance it is white
Its peak is white
The white peak
If my desires are fulfilled
According to my wishes
to my wishes
We‘ll spend a year in Landeh
The mausoleum of T ok Landeh
Tok Landeh‘s mausoleum
My love, to the padi fields I go
ceremai sayalah saya
ceremai saya
I will not ever again
ever harvest again
harvest again
Why do you look at me
look at me
at me
I am now of no use
of no use
without use
Ampailah ampai

TIMANG BUBU

Ya Bandan Ya Lokan
strike the bush everyday
our game begins
Bandan starts his dance
Brinjals as big as earthen pots
picked by the princess
The tiong flies and the bayan flies
they fly to call the princess
Ya Bandan Ya Lokan
strike the bush everyday
our game begins
Bandan starts his dance
The dew of the rain lies upstream
the snail of the palm tree
forgive me O penghulu
excuse my misdeeds
Ya Bandan Ya Lokan
strike the bush everyday
our game begins
Bandan starts his dance
Shaking in the earthen ware
Jiggling in the fish trap
Don‘t be too courteous nor too shy
For we are together orphans
Ya Bandan Ya Lokan
strike the bush everyday
our game begins
Bandan starts his dance

ADUH BUAIAN

Aduh duh the cradle comes to rest
the cradle lies at the foot of the mountain
Intoxicated not because of wine
but for thoughts of a man‘s daughter
The baby crocodile that swims out of its nest
tarries at deep waters for a morsel
The heart feels like embracing the mountains
but the hands will never encircle them
Duh the cradle comes to rest
the cradle lies at the foot of the mountain
Intoxicated not because of wine
but for thoughts of a man‘s daughter
The padi is my padi
And cannot be exchanged
This heart is my heart
and cannot be mended
Duh the cradle comes to rest
the cradle lies at the foot of the mountain
Intoxicated not because of wine
but for thoughts of a man‘s daughter
Bakar lives two to a room
Someone beats the drum upstream
The younger sister replaces the lost elder
hopefully without delay
Duh the cradle comes to rest
the cradle lies at the foot of the mountain
Intoxicated not because of wine
but for thoughts of a man‘s daughter
Thousands of jackfruits all belong to me
the diamond ring falls to the floor
When you miss me then call my name and
don‘t let your tears go to waste
Duh the cradle comes to rest
the cradle lies at the foot of the mountain
Intoxicated not because of wine
but for thoughts of a man‘s daughter
Off to the padi fields early at dawn
even the young and unripe padi is stripped
A thousand voices have forbidden it
But the young heart follows its desires
Duh the cradle comes to rest
the cradle lies at the foot of the mountain
Intoxicated not because of wine
but for thoughts of a man‘s daughter

ENDUI

[Sung during the occasion of the shaving of the child‘s hair]

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim
La-Illah-ha-illallah . Muhammad-ar-Rasulullah!
The beginning starts with Bismillah
The condition of the being
reveals the characteristics of the body and its name
Servitude and Obedience have long been preordained
O Children of Adam
Originated from the message of the Final Light
Divided into four and led by Adam
Dispersed throughout the land
Your father‘s seed entwined with your mother‘s
After forty days you are called nutfah
After eighty days you are called alkah
One hundred and twenty your name is alamah
Carried by your mother for nine months
The actual duration can never be exact
Your mother endured great pain in your birth
followed by a severe restriction in diet
The full nine months have passed by
and finally you appear in this world
Only then are your parents happy
Showering you with all their love
Your mother‘s hopes are not few
They rise higher than the hills
Long did your mother bear the pain
For nine months she lay quite still
Remember all you children
When you were still just a child
When you had fallen into deep sleep
She sought for you food tasty and sweet
O my my child, never protest
The sufferings she endured when‘ she bore you
Her left and her right were all damp
Never has this fact dawned upon you
What is an oil-lamp compared to a lantern
You are carried, then cleansed and snugly wrapped
When awake you are immediately cradled
And showered with endless love and affection
Regardless of the time of day
She rises to hold you in the dark
Awoken by you in the dark of night
She forsakes her bed and sleeps where she might
Think of your father O child of the court
Who raised you amidst hardship
Sheltered you from wind and rain
For fear epilepsy will overcome you
If your mother had a slave to command
Mosquitoes will never touch your skin
A netting will be placed around you and
Bright candles and lanterns will surround you
Although your mother has debts to pay
and her single cloth is wrapped around her
Damp on the railings and dried on her waist
You are cradled, carried and never kept apart
Think of your father O child of the court
Never protest or go against his words
They are your parents, your one link to God
Then will you be the true child of the court
If your mother were a rich woman
She would have servants and slaves
and she would gather all her money
even that you find hard to believe
When you are able to count
Then will you study day and night
Perpetually visiting your teacher‘s house
Mornings and evenings without fail
When you have learnt to read the Qur‘ an
Your parents will be overjoyed
They will look for money everyday
To send you off for the sacred haj
On your haj to the holy land
To cleanse yourself from all your sins
The syiekh wants you to recite the Qur‘ an
A practice that you should never despise

Part 1

BERENDUI – IN THE CRADLE

La-illah-ha-illallah , Muhammad-ar-Rasullah!
La-illah-ha-illallah , Muhammad-ar-Rasullah!
La-illah-ha-illallah , Muhammad-ar-Rasullah!
Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
How healthy is your son, dear sir,
May he not be bewildered in his cradle
We were gathered by your parents
to have you rocked in your cradle
The beginning starts with the name of Allah
Your being and traits are together
You are a being according to your traits
Your status as a servant has long been pre ordained
After your father‘s seed had descended
Into the spirit of your mother‘s womb
After forty days, your name is nutfah
And so begins your mother‘s restrictions
On the onset of eighty days
You are now named AlQah
Upon reaching one hundred and twenty
Muzfah you are then named
After four months have gone by
You have been endowed with feet and hands
Physically complete in every way
Only the soul has not been breathed in
The time has finally come
Your soul unites with your body
Nestled in a specific place within you
Wants and desires have also developed
La-illah-ha-illallah,
La-illah-ha-illallah,
La-illah-ha-illallah,
Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
For nine months your mother bore you
No rice and water she consumed
How painful was your birth
As if the soul was seized from the body
The moment you were to touch the floor
The midwife receives you in haste
You are then cleansed and clothed
While your mother lies weak and worn
The call to prayer is then whispered to you
And a prayer for safety is said for you
Remember the advice of the prophet Muhammad
Establish the law of God on this earth
O my child, do not protest
Your mother raised you in adversity
Whether she turned to her left or her right
She would be made wet by your urine and vomit
O young child of the court
Never rebel against your mother‘s advice
She sheltered you from storms and typhoons
lest you be stricken by sickness and Satan
When the blinds are down, the storm will pass
and the oil lamp is lit in your mosquito net
Charms and amulets are immediately used
As protection from the evil eye
La-illah-ha-illallah,
La-illah-ha-illallah
La-illah-ha-illallah‘
Prophet Muham~ad is the Messenger of Allah
If there are storms and lightning
The coconut husks will be burnt and charms used
For the heart fears for you
and wishes to shelter you from shock
You were raised by your mother from infancy
Until the day you grow of age
You are sent to seek knowledge far and wide
For your mother‘s hopes know no bounds
If you triumph in your pursuit of knowledge
Your mother would beam with pride
You will not be allowed to go hither thither
Until the religious books have been studied
If you master these books on religion
as well as jawi and the Arabic language
Then will your mother‘s heart be contented
and her food and drink would regain flavour

Part 2

La-illah-ha-illallah ,
La-illah-ha-illallah,
La-illah-ha-illallah ,
Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
Ya-illahi – Halifatul- Rahman
Prophet Muhammad seal of the prophets
Ya -illahi- Halif atul- Rahman
Prophet Muhammad seal of the prophets
Encik/Cik …………………….. we have named you
Today we rock your cradle
If the child does not take heed of
the mother‘s advice, then his face will wrinkle
and he will be shocked when death approaches
For this has been mentioned in the Qur‘an
O child, you should remember
never to obey Iblis the cursed
Perform acts of obedience to God
Abstain from performing any evil
O child we remind you
You who are in your cradle
Never go against your parents
Never heed Iblis and Satan
We have given you a lot of advice
All of which you must remember
You must cherish them in your mind
and place them in your heart
We have rocked you far too long
So that you would sleep more soundly
We remind you to commit them to memory
Bring them on your journeys and not discard them
O young child, jauhari
Remember our advice
Place them in your heart
Not discard them to an unworthy resting place
Ya-illahi- Halifatul- Rahman
Prophet Muhammad seal of the prophets
Ya -illahi – Halifatul- Rahman
Prophet Muhammad seal of the prophets
Encik/Cik ….. ……. …… we have named you
Today we rock your cradle
O young child of the court
Our advice should never be forgotten
You must remember them day and night
and include us in your prayers
If you perform your prayers
Supplicate day and night
Prayers should never be discarded
For the wrath of Allah is severe
Ya-Allah-Malikil-Izat
May good fortune smile on this child
Let this increase by day and by night
Until it is time for him to leave
O child who we rock in this cradle
It is you that we pray for
May a short life be lengthened
and a good livelihood be easy to come by
Ya-Allahu-ya-Rabbi
Raise this child in prosperity
Sound of body and pure of heart
and may affluence surround him each day
Ya-Allahu-Malikul-Jabbar
May this child quickly mature
Protected from frivolous talk
and made wise in the ways of this world and the next
Ya-Allah-Rabbul-Izzati
May this child be firm of heart
Conferred with a position of import
and praised in the land of the Hereafter
Ya-Allahu-ya-Rahman
May this child be steadfast in faith
Made steadfast in his acts or worship
and sheltered from Satan and iblis
a-Allah-Malikil-Wahab
Keep this child away from affliction
and may his prayers be answered
Day and night we pray for these
Ya-Allah-Malikil-Mannan
May our prayers be answered
Day and night till eternity
shelter him from affliction and slander
Ya Allah whose Word will be done
Deliver us from evil
Ease our lives in this world and the next
Praise be to God, this nazam now ends

A LULLABY FOR A DAUGHTER

We begin with the name of Allah
Praise be to Allah and salutations to the Prophet
With the grace of God
Our dreams have been fulfilled
A child who we have long yearned for
Has finally been granted us
A child with a name given
Together we swing her in her cradle
For years, O Prophet of Allah
Settled in the land of Mecca
Passed away in city of Madinah
Leaving behind his daughter Siti Fatimah
Gold and Silver we swing in the cradle
The child lies in her cradle
While we hold the cradle‘s rope
Gold and silver are the songs we sing
We have all been gathered here
By your parents, my dear
Given food and drink
To give thanks to God
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name is Zainal Abidin
Thanks be to Allah almighty
For the child given to us
Give alms as much as we can afford
With alms there will be plenty
All relatives have been invited
So too have close friends
All neighbours and acquaintance
Have all safely arrived
The pigrim comes down to Jeddah
In Jeddah, he traps the deer
Reciting the Qur‘ an in praise of Allah
In hopes of forgiveness of sins
They come from far and near
With friends to accompany them
Some arrive with provisions
Some travel only under the shelter of clouds
We come without cease
From far and wide to visit you
With the intention of rocking your cradle
For that is the wish of your parents
For years, OProphet of Allah
Settled in the land of Mecca
Passed away in the city of Madinah
Leaving behind his daughter Siti Fatimah
When you have grown older
Return their favours showered on you
O my child bear this in mind
and your parents will be proud
Dear parents come listen
As we sing to your child in her cradle
Together we pray for her
and may Allah answer these prayers
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name is Zainal Abidin
When the child is an infant
She is the darling of her parents
Until she grows a little more
and reaches the age of seven
When the child is aged seven
The age of a child of the court
She is a joy to behold
especially to both her parents
Laillahaillallah (3 times)
Prophet Muhammad Messenger of Allah
Then will come a time
When she reaches the age of ten
Then will she turn defiant
And will rebel against you
Hence child we implore patience
We plead for the parents to ponder
Don‘t be embarrased to look for us
to help nurture and educate your child
For years, O Prophet of Allah
Settled in the land of Mecca
Passed away in city of Madinah
Leaving behind his daughter Siti Fatimah
When the precious child has grown
Teach her knowledge of our religion
If we ourselves are not learned
Send her to the pious scholars
Hence the child until she becomes learned
Be she good or bad will be determined then
Because of that my child
Be good in whatever you do
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name is Zainal Abidin
If this is not done
Surely the child will never understand
She will be backward and blind
Unaware of good and evil until death
If you do not have the knowledge
The permissible and the prohibited become one
Deeds of evil are done out of ignorance
And leads the child to rebellion
Laillahaillallah (3 times)
Prophet Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
Tis certain that the child will rebel
For the parents have been indifferent
For lack of learning and want of knowledge
We end up losers in this world and the next
How much of a loss it would be
For we raised her from infancy
So much money have we spent
And she grows to be defiant
The pigrim comes down to Jeddah
In Jeddah, he traps the deer
Reciting the Qur‘ an in praise of Allah
In hopes of forgiveness of sins
How painful is this life on earth
And in the Hereafter the torment increases
We lacked the knowledge and knowledge we did not seek
But the child we prayed for was granted us
So obvious is the loss of the parents
Because they failed to educate their child
Hence never refrain
To strive to educate this child
For years, O Prophet of Allah
Settled in the land of Mecca
Passed away in city of Madinah
Leaving behind his daughter Siti Fatimah
With the truth and virtue of education
the purity of her character will bloom
She will become the best child who can
Help in this world and the next.
If you have a child as such
It will be like a disease becoming a cure
That sir is an analogy
But be aware of such a boon
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name is Zainal Abidin
O mother, O father of the child
This is the advice you sought from us
We hope you will take heed
May it help you gain what you covet
It is easy to stop now
But as the cradle swings the natham increase
May tranquility find you with ease
Everyone mentions the name of Allah
May this child fall quickly asleep
Grow up rapidly to claim her position of fame
If you child do not wish to sleep
Your parents will then have to amuse you
If you, child, grow up quickly
Your father‘s patience will increase
As they watch how their child behaves
Pride will fill the hearts of the parents
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name ii Zainal Abidin
O child remember
To return the favours of your mother
As well as those of your father
and those of your close friends
O my young child of the court
You are most certainly a girl
If you are fated to be betrothed
Never go against your husband
Laillahaillallah (3 times)
Prophet Muhammad the Messenger of Allah
Whoever goes against her husband
Will suffer torment at her death bed
Her face will be blackened to liken the pig‘s
Hell shall be her final resting place
If there are sins and wrongdoings
Ask forgiveness from your spouse
If your sins your husband does not pardon
They will remain forever a stain uncleansed
The pilgrim comes down to Jeddah
In Jeddah, he traps the deer
Reciting the Qur‘an in praise of Allah
In hopes of forgiveness of sins
O young child, jauhari
Remember our advice
Place them in your heart
Not discard them onto an unworthy resting place
O my young and excellent child
We pray for you day and night
Your prayers should never be neglected
For the major sins are not to be scoffed at
For years, O Prophet of Allah
Settled in the land of Mecca
Passed away in city of Madinah
Leaving behind his daughter Siti Fatimah
O child, you should remember
never to obey Iblis the cursed
Perform acts of obedience to God
Abstain from performing any evil
O my child in the cradle
Remember the advice we give
Treasure them in your mind
and place them in your heart
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name is Zainal Abidin
O young child, jauhari
Remember our advice
Place them in your heart
Not discard them onto an unworthy resting place
O child who we rock in this cradle
It is you that we pray for
May a short life be lengthened
and a good livelihood be easy to come by
The pilgrim comes down to Jeddah
In Jeddah, he traps the deer
Reciting the Qur‘an in praise of Allah
In hopes of forgiveness of sins
All the words that have been said
Now you have to listen to this
O all children
Remember, to place it in your hearts

Never rebel against your father

For God looks upon this with scorn
You will be cast into Hell
where the punishment would be unbearable
For years, O Prophet of Allah
Settled in the land of Mecca
Passed away in city of Madinah
Leaving behind his daughter Siti Fatimah
Don‘t be too concerned with matters of the world
Heed the advice of the Prophet
You reap your own rewards in the Hereafter
including a large palace for you to possess
If you do not take heed
Then Hereafter awaits with an awful chastiment
You will suffer on five ocassions
Beginning with when your life is seized
Fatimah Siti Fatimah
Mother of Hassan and Hussin
of the Quraish race and the tribe of Bani Hashim
Her grandchild‘s name is Zainal Abidin
We have reached the end
Swinging the child while the natham increases
The natham begins in the name of Allah
and ends with praise to Allah
Ya Allah Khaliq al-Bukhari
Give guidance to all of us
Make us steadfast in our faith
Let us be triumphant in this world and the next
The pilgrim comes down to Jeddah
In Jeddah, he traps the deer
Reciting the Qur‘an in praise of Allah
In hopes of forgiveness of sins
The cradle finally comes to rest
We wish from the relatives
And hope that we all pray
That this child remains pure of heart
The advices end and the words stop flowing
The song of Fatimah and her blessings
If there were mistakes in our speech
Do not keep them in your hearts

TOK TUNGGOK

Tok ta tunggok
Berdenting-denting the roots of the ‘merudang kuning‘
where the kingfisher died
in a tussle
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
So proud are the elephants from the swamps
Used by the king for races
But succeeding only in winning a small trophy
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
What a waste the sibau rambutan
Ripe and sweet but left to rot on its tree
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
Sayangnya the love potion ‘jayau pugai‘
that belongs to his kin
When applied to an old lady
No wonder he acts so proud
Tok ta tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
What a waste the magic charm ‘batu gula‘
that used to be so effective
and was obtained from the palm leaves
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
The love potion that belongs to his kin
that was applied late last night
put the two of them together for two months
always in love and in lack of sleep
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
three pulai trees
growing downstream
growing too close together
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
So pretty is the Bunian Muda tree
that grows behind the hills
A youth is not unwilling to give his life
For a mere bronze ring
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
So ashamed are we the women from Sungai Layar
as we cannot compete with the women of Sungai Paku
But we have yet to see
When we adorn ourselves and comb our hair
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
The women differ all along the river
Some have dimples that pierce right through
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
How sad the wristwatch
of his kin
has a faulty piece and its key
is broken and crushed in his hand
No longer faithful in telling when
it‘s time to leave the loved one‘ house
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
How sad the pulicat cloth that belongs to his kin
is torn because he scaled a post
to get to his lover‘s bed
on the upper floor
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
How shrill is the cry of the bird of omens
Heard in the swamps
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
How sad the gold ring
belonging to his kin
That was given to a woman
But his proposal of marriage was turned down
Tok tunggok
Tok ta tunggok
How sad the jewelled ring
belonging to his kin
That was given before an agreement was made
But has been met with refusal
Tok tunggok

INDUNG ANAK

Indung juga anak
jugalah indung anak
lah mengindung
indung juga anak
lah menangis jangan
If the jackfruit is to fall
Let it not fall on the pauh branch
indunglah anak
If the eyes are laden with sleep
let them hot think of the one so far
indunglah anak lah mengindung
So high is the sun
the baby buffalo dies on its tether
I have been searching for so long i
ndunglah anak
Tis only now have I found
Indung jugalah anak
indung anak
indung jugalah anak
lah menangis jangan
If you go upstream don‘t keep to the side
kasih indunglah anak
don‘t keep to the sides for the currents are strong
If you wish to sleep, may you not dream
ngindung juga anak
if you dream belas bertambah belas
Indung jugalah anak
indung anak
Stamp your feet iron anklets
slap your gintong string
clap your hands wire bracelets
timang anak timang
Kap-kap prawns
catch them and then free them
where does the sound come from
But from the man hiding in the bush
The gibbon sleep suspended
It is suspended from the bar
The kepua cloth that is green
A blanket for my only grandchild
The owl keeps bobbing
at the end of the bush
Hurl at it with poison
Blinded in one eye
A lady spoke of
a young girl
who took her time
in her chores
when she only had to fill
her bamboo container with water
Rock-a-bye, the one I love
My beloved is still a child
My one and only, don‘t you cry
I serenade you with beautiful songs
My one and only don‘t you cry
I sing a variety of songs for you
I lullaby my one and only
with a melodious song

 
OH WHAT A PITY

Oh what a pity
Is this where the losers are
Oh what 6 pity
Is this where they are taken from
Don‘t you cry
Pity your tears
dry them with your handkerchief
So that they won‘t flow
In the past
you loved me
Dirt on my face
and you washed me
And when I sleep
you tucked me in
Do you know
We are now apart

 MAGANDAI

My dear, dear child, why do you cry?
Perhaps for want of a name! Let me give a name
like the name of a stream, so that there will be
prowess in catching fish.
My dear child is growing up, so clever is he
Lindung fish, with a sword so long; Kali fish, its
body a shield; freshwater turtle, with its hat;
and the python.

AYUN

Rock a bye, my child rock
Rock in your cradle
Swing, the cradle swings
swing in remembrance of a distant love
Sleep, my child sleep
Sleep soundly as the cradle rocks
__________

Edited by: Mohd. Ghazali Abdullah, Ministry Of Culutre Art And Tourism Malaysia, 1997

Source: heritage.gov.my




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